Denver Nuggets’ rookie Bol Bol took the NBA world by storm in his debut Wednesday, and head coach Mike Malone believes more is to come.
The Denver Nuggets were one of the first NBA teams to kick off the restart scrimmages on Wednesday, and they did so with a bang. Their starting lineup rounded out to an average height of around 6’10”, which included three centers as the team only had eight players available. Because of the irregular circumstances, the 7’2″ Bol Bol started at small forward and made the most out of his debut with the team.
In 32 minutes, the big man logged 16 points on 6-for-14 field goal shooting, including 2-for-8 from behind the arc. Bol also added 10 rebounds, one assist, and six blocks to his total, unquestionably making a strong impression. After his compelling debut, Denver’s head coach Mike Malone shared some encouraging words on a Zoom call Friday.
“The scary thing is,” Malone said Friday, “he had 16,10, and 6 the other night, and I think he played OK. I talked to him before practice, and I said, ‘How do you think you played, Bol?’ He said, “I think I did OK, but I know I can do a lot better.'”
“For him to have those numbers in his first game against NBA competition is great, but what really excites me is not that game, but how much room he has to continue to grow,” Malone said. “And he will because he is so young, and he will improve and the sky is definitely the limit for him.
As good as Bol’s debut was, Malone believes there is still plenty of room for improvement for the rookie. As a 20-year-old who just played in his first game with the team, this is nothing of a surprise.
“Contested mid-range shots, we want to stay away from those,” he said. “If you’re open, let it fly. If you’re not, get the ball, make a play for somebody else. But I’m being overly harsh right now. He was tremendous, but when I look at him from a coaching lens, and I see where is he going to be in a year, two years, three years, he’s only going to get better and better.”
Everyone wants to see more of Bol Bol in the NBA’s upcoming restart, but only time will tell if it comes to fruition. Bol could be the secret weapon for this Denver team, but he simply needs more time on the court before any accurate judgment. The No. 44 overall draft selection from last offseason undoubtedly has a chip on his shoulders, and could seemingly be a hidden gem after falling so far.
Since Bol’s first action came in a scrimmage, fans should not expect him to become a solidified piece in the rotation just yet. The team was without Jamal Murray, Monte Morris, Will Barton, Torrey Craig, and Michael Porter Jr., leaving them significantly shorthanded. The rookie took advantage of the opportunity, having showcased the unique talent that he was, and will always be a viable option for the Denver Nuggets to pull out of their back pocket if needed.
Justifiably so, everyone is caught up on the Bol Bol hysteria after just one scrimmage. Not every day does a 7’2″ player, let alone a rookie, come into the league and have an eye-catching debut as Bol did. Hopefully, the big man gets another chance to get some genuine playing time soon and assure everyone that his first game was not just a fluke. Mike Malone showed his belief in the 20-year-old, making it likely that another Bol sighting is coming soon.