Bol Bol: Off-Ball Offense

Our scouting grades represent the composite opinion of at least three different scouts. Each category is graded based on how we view a player’s current ability level relative to NBA players at the same position (guard, wing, forward or big). A grade of 1 indicates replacement level, a grade of 5 indicates NBA average, and a grade of 10 indicates historically elite. Our composite scouting notes help provide context for our grades.


 
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Movement & positioning

Another category where he breaks the traditional mold for a big man, Bol’s game does not feature the powerful downhill movement of a rim-runner. Rather his game is more subtle, maintaining team spacing with good positioning above the break. He struggles in traffic, losing balance and momentum due to his lack of strength, but has proven an effective cutter when he can find some daylight. If he gets a step on a defender his long stride length and reach make it all but impossible for them to recover.


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Screening

Bol needs to improve as a screener to unlock his other offensive tools. He needs space to operate, and one of the best ways for a big man to get space is as a screener (the way Al Horford gets space for pick-and-pop threes). Although he is a willing screener that endeavors to find the right angles, he needs to make solid contact and that is difficult with his current frame. To really access his potential as a stretchy big with vertical gravity, learning to screen has to be early on the list of skills to improve.


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Shooting off the catch

Bol will immediately be one of the better shooting big men in the NBA. He’s a confident shooter with no hesitation. His mechanics are solid (read more about his shooting form), and he has a shooter’s touch. One example in the Houston game was particularly striking: on a baseline out-of-bounds he executed an inverted post-up, sealing his man away from the 3-point arc then stepping out to catch a lob pass. In one fluid motion he caught the ball, spun toward the basket and drained a smooth jump shot.


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Shooting off movement

Although there weren’t any pure examples of Bol shooting off movement in his short stint at Oregon, the requisite skills seem to be part of his repertoire. This aspect of his game will need to be developed, but could present a unique way to deploy him in the future.


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Finishing off movement

With a 9’7” standing reach, Bol doesn’t need to elevate much to dunk the ball. What he does need is space, because his thin frame simply bounces off defenders. He also doesn’t have the best hands, often bobbling the ball before gaining control. This can lead to him losing the advantage gained by cutting. These caveats aside, he’s still an incredibly tall and long human being. These flaws keep him from reaching elite levels, but he still finishes at a solid rate for a big man.