At this point in draft season, most fans and talking heads have formulated opinions on who is going to get drafted where. The top 3 is all but guaranteed, and there is much consensus on the first 7 or so picks. But that doesn’t mean that players can fall out of the top 10, or fall out of the lottery all together. One of those wildcards is Bol Bol. Son of former NBA center Manute Bol, he spent his lone year of college at the University of Oregon, where he played in only nine games before missing the remainder of the season due to a fracture in his left foot.
Despite his injury, Bol is a very intriguing prospect who is worth a mid-to-late lottery pick. Since Memphis is currently picking second in the draft, the chance of the Grizzlies ending up with Bol are slim, especially since he has a similar game to Jaren Jackson Jr. However, if the Grizzlies were to trade a certain point guard (cough Mike Conley cough) and wind up with an extra lottery pick, they would at least have to consider Bol because of what he can bring to the table. His combination of size and skill gives him the potential to be the next NBA “unicorn” big man, but he doesn’t come without concerns.
Bol Bol obviously is quite the physical specimen. Standing over 7 feet tall with a 7”+ wingspan he can make an immediate impact as a shot-blocking force. His height and length also helped him average 9.6 rebounds at Oregon, despite concerns about his strength (more on that later). This, combined with an impressive 3-point shot (52% in 9 games with Oregon) is what has made Bol such an intriguing prospect. Not to mention his quickness and ability in transition. Bol also handles the ball well and has good touch around the rim, which isn’t always a given for a big who excels in shot blocking and shooting.
While Bol’s strengths are well-documented, his weaknesses are as well. Durability is obviously a concern at this point after only playing in nine games for Oregon due to his foot injury. Bol was diagnosed with a navicular fracture in his left foot, which coincidentally is the same injury that took out our own Marc Gasol in 2016. Big men and foot injuries can be a big red flag and could even scare some teams away.
Injury aside, Bol’s frame could also be an initial weakness. Despite his height, Bol is skinny as a rail, which creates concern that he could be an easy target for stronger bigs, especially on defense. Grizzlies fans saw first-hand how guys like Ivan Rabb got bullied around in the paint at the end of the season. For the team that ends up drafting Bol, I can imagine that something they would like to see from him is to add some muscle in order to avoid a “Rabb” situation.
Bol Bol is potentially the highest risk/reward prospect in this year’s draft. He has the chance to be one of the best picks in the draft, or wind up as one of the biggest recent busts. And while it is once again unlikely that he suits up for the Grizzlies, they would be remiss if they didn’t do their due diligence on the former Duck.