Golden State Warriors rookie Jordan Bell has wowed NBA audiences in the early goings of this season. In the process, he has made his early case for All-Rookie First Team selection.
The Golden State Warriors have been the best team in the NBA for the past three seasons. Usually, the best teams don’t get the best rookies. The Warriors didn’t have a draft pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, yet they walked out with a budding star in former Oregon forward Jordan Bell.
It was yet another masterstroke for the Warriors franchise, just a year after doing nearly the exact same thing in acquiring Patrick McCaw.
In the early goings of this new season, Jordan Bell has stunned NBA fans. He’s been a strong contributor off the bench in limited minutes for the Dubs, and he’s made the most of all of his opportunities.
Amongst the hype surrounding some of the big-name rookies out of this draft class, the 38th overall pick has quietly been climbing the rookie rankings. His prospects of being an All-Rookie First Team selection are contingent on his minutes, but he has strongly stated his case for selection.
Making the case for Bell’s selection
Bell has started off the season well, and has played more minutes than expected so early on. In his seven appearances, Bell has averaged 9.1 minutes per game, for a total of 63.9 minutes. He’s averaged 4.9 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.7 steals and 0.7 blocks per game. Taking these stats on face value, they’re solid, and the Warriors would be welcoming his contributions.
But, Bell’s case lies in his per 36 minutes statistics. Per 36 minutes, Bell has averaged 19.1 points, 10.1 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 2.8 steals and 2.3 blocks. Those stats are on par with, and arguably better than, both, Ben Simmons and Lonzo Ball‘s per 36 minutes stats. Those two players have been lauded as Rookie of the Year candidates.
Bell has rapidly developed and at 23 years old, is arguably more NBA-ready than most rookies. He has the size, strength, and ability that allow him to compete with some of the NBA’s best.
Additionally, Bell is standing out on a team filled with All-Stars. Not to mention, the team is the defending NBA champion. He’s been one of the Warriors’ bright spots this season, which is no mean feat, especially for a rookie. His ability to make the most of his limited minutes also displays a lot of determination and maturity.
What’s standing in Bell’s way
Jordan Bell is definitely on par with some of the best of the 2017 rookie class. The issue is, Bell won’t be afforded anywhere near the number of minutes most rookies will receive. When playing for the defending NBA champions, especially when the team is stacked at the forward spots, minutes are certain to be hard to come by. While Bell has not let this deter him, it won’t work in his favor when compared to other rookies.
This is why an All-Rookie First Team selection is attainable. Bell has been outstanding, but his lack of playing time won’t allow him to be a Rookie of the Year candidate. However, his skills and ability are too advanced to be ignored, and not rewarded. Sure, his limited playing time will likely count against him, but, it’s hard to think of five rookies who have outplayed him so far.
Why it won’t matter
An All-Rookie First Team selection would be great for Bell’s resume. Rookie of the Year contention would be even better, but let’s face it, in the long run it probably won’t matter. Bell has drawn comparisons to Draymond Green for a number of reasons. Green never won any rookie awards. If Bell doesn’t receive any either, it won’t affect his career trajectory.
Should Bell develop at the rapid rate Green has, he’ll achieve some major awards before most, if not all, of his rookie counterparts. Plus, he has the opportunity to learn from some of the best players in the world at the Warriors, and should win an NBA championship this season.
It probably won’t matter to Bell if he’s considered for these rookie awards, although he definitely should be. If he’s not at the very least an All-Rookie Second Team selection, some questions will definitely be asked.