For the first time in program history, Oregon has five individuals preparing for the 2017 NBA Draft. The greatest team in program history was loaded with professional talent, such as Jordan Bell, Chris Boucher Dillon Brooks, Tyler Dorsey and Dylan Ennis. I will be previewing them in that order this week, as we prepare for the NBA Draft on June 22.
If you missed my scouting report for the Atlanta Hawks on Jordan Bell, you can find it at Hawks.com via the NBA.
With our first NBA Draft Profile, who better than Mr. Bell? The Long Beach product played a pivotal role in Oregon’s success, alongside impacting the college game with one of the elite performances of our generation.
Jordan Bell, come on down! You are the next contestant on The Price is Right. Cue the music.
He is listed at 6-foot-8.75, but Bell plays like a 7-foot-2 center. The NBA Combine listed his wingspan as 6-foot-11 from Chicago’s draft showcase. At the end of the day, his height will be used against him. He just needs to keep defying the odds.
He is a world-class explosive athlete with a fearless mentality. Bell’s high character lends to unheralded leadership skills for a team-first superstar. Most basketball players with Bell’s talent and ability have much larger egos.
He can rebound and block shots with the best of them. His explosiveness is jaw-dropping. Bell can score around the rim and has a consistent looking stroke from 15 feet. His jumper needs work, but with time it will be trustworthy. Bell can facilitate the offense, dribble and find the open man with ease.
His quickness is second to none. Bell ran the fastest shuttle time (2.56) in history at the 2017 NBA Draft Combine. He also recorded a 37-inch vertical jump from Chicago.
Bell’s innate instincts are illustrated when he plays defense. For his efforts this campaign, Bell was awarded the 2017 Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year honor. In the tournament, he was named the Most Outstanding Player in the Midwest Region. Bell was also on the Pac-12 All-Defensive Team and was a 2nd Team All-Pac-12 member.
The greatest negative facing him entering the NBA Draft is his size. Most scouts left Oregon saying he was too small to be a big deal at the next level. They overlooked his intangibles and explosiveness.
The former Duck has a motor that does NOT stop, ever. If he’s on the floor, he is bringing energy in every form of the word. Bell is relentless.
His head coach at Oregon will attest to even missing the big fella at times.
“I joke with him,” said Dana Altman. “I’m driving to the arena today and thinking about Jordan being in class. Usually when I’m driving to the arena, I’m worried whether Jordan went to class or not. It’s a little different after three years, not having you around.”
Bell is motivated through the success of those around him. He is a positive influence with players young and old.
Statistically, Bell averaged 10.9 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 2.2 BPG, 1.8 APG and 1.3 SPG over the 2016-17 regular season. Let’s not forget, he led the Pac-12 in shooting percentage at a ridiculous 63.8 percent during his junior campaign.
Yet, Bell was largely overshadowed by teammate Chris Boucher the last two years. However, it’s Bell who left Oregon as the No. 1 shot-blocker (233) in program history and set the world on fire with a legendary postseason explosion.
His numbers during the 2017 NCAA Tournament were off the charts. Most people will notice someone posting 13.2 RPG, 12.6 PPG and 3.2 blocks per game during March Madness. Not to mention, he led the tournament in total rebounds with 66.
Yet, it was his magical 8-block performance against No. 1 Kansas in the Elite Eight that placed the Long Beach product on the map. You can watch highlights from that game at the bottom of this page.
“Until the run at the end, I wasn’t sure what he was going to do,” Altman stated. “You play that well for that many games, I can’t blame him. Everyone talks about Jordan playing so well at the end, but it’s the time he put in since last year. Guys come to the gym. They’re in there all the time. You don’t have to beg them, they want to be there.”
Defining him by just his incredible stats would be an injustice to the sterling character he exhibits on a daily basis. I have never met anyone like Jordan Bell.
Defensively, he is on another level. It’s his ability to defend anyone on the floor from the point guard to the center that makes him so valuable to the National Basketball Association.
“I couldn’t advise him to come back, even if I wanted to. I supported him all the way,” said Altman.
Believe it or not, the Long Beach native actually enjoys playing defense. Aside from skills you can’t teach like leaping ability and timing for rebounds and blocked shots, he is extremely unselfish and loves to communicate. His play recognition on defense is remarkable. He places teammates in perfect position to make defensive stops.
He’s always under control and very disciplined.
The jump shot needs work. He has a consistent stroke from 15 feet, but the results need to be more efficient. At the end of the season, he was not missing from anywhere. If he can routinely bury a jump shot from the wing, he will always find minutes in professional basketball.
Offensively, Bell developed a jump-hook late in the season that was unstoppable. If he can perfect it from 10 feet, Bell could see his offensive numbers skyrocket. His positioning for offensive rebounds is uncanny. He finishes with force around the rim.
His effort on a random Thursday night in November was the same as the Final Four in March. His demeanor never changes.
Bell’s flexibility and versatility may be one of his best traits. Deciphering between the two would only hurt Bell. Oregon actually plays a slower defensive game and more uptempo offensive scheme. He can play in any system. In the current NBA, what is more valuable?
Additionally, JB can run a high-low offense with another versatile big man that can pass. Bell is incredibly unselfish and can distribute like an elite big man of the Joakim Noah or Mason Plumlee stature. Once he forces the defense to respect him inside the perimeter, it will open the passing lanes.
Jordan Bell reminds me of the former Seattle SuperSonic Shawn Kemp. Not to mention, Bell exhibits traits from his favorite player, Draymond Green. Regardless, both are game-changers on a basketball floor. If Bell portrays half their talent, he will be a star in the league.
Kemp was listed at 6-foot-10, but some say that number was grossly exaggerated. Don’t forget, Kemp’s offensive game evolved over time, but it was a work in progress. He did not enter the league as a finished product. Sounds familiar.
Kemp was an icon, All-Star, Olympian and the face of a professional franchise. Will Jordan Bell have the same impact? You never know. If I’ve learned anything in my time with Jordan Bell at Oregon, it’s to NEVER doubt him or his team.
NBA DRAFT PROJECTION
I believe Bell will be selected in the first round of the draft. In the back end of the first round, a handful of opportunities await for Bell and could snag him. A situation like Golden State would be perfect for the California kid. However, a place with the San Antonio Spurs or college-home Portland Trail Blazers would suffice, as well.
At the end of the day, many teams are in need of athletes with defensive skills like Bell’s. The Sacramento Kings, Indiana Pacers, Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors would make perfect sense. Yet, it is my belief that Bell will end up somewhere surprising like Dallas or Houston. Bell will not take long to develop.
INTERESTED NBA TEAMS
JB’S workout schedule:
May 15 - Indiana Pacers
May 22 - Toronto Raptors
May 30 - Los Angeles Lakers
May 31 - Sacramento Kings
June 5 - Utah Jazz
June 7 - Philadelphia 76ers
June 19 - Portland Trail Blazers
Video courtesy of NCAA.com and March Madness via YouTube
My next NBA Draft Profile: Chris Boucher will be published on Thursday at ATQ.
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