The Detroit Pistons need to get more athletic in the front court.
The quartet of Isaiah Stewart, Trey Lyles, Luka Garza and Kelly Olynyk all bring different wrinkles to the table, but none are the type of bouncy, athletic big men that have grown prevalent across the league.
On Sunday, GM Troy Weaver looked to address that by acquiring Bol Bol from the Denver Nuggets in exchange for Rodney McGruder and a future second round pick. The pick comes via the Brooklyn Nets, so it’s going to be a late selection.
Let’s get weird.
Bol is the the long lanky son of one of the league’s most unique centers, Manute Bol. He’s got that same crazy size (7-foot-2) and length (7-foot-8 wingspan) and, like dad, he’s able to stretch the floor out to the 3-point line.
He’s also a twig, weighing in at 220 pounds.
Bol hasn’t played much since being taken in the second round in 2019. He slipped in the draft due to health concerns related to his foot and some character concerns related to his drive to be great. This Bleacher Report article from 2019 provides some insight:
“His resting demeanor makes him look aloof, like he might rather be sitting on the couch,” says one NBA scout. “I don’t really think that’s his fault. He’s not that different from most guys his age. He’s not a vocal leader, but he’s also not a bad egg. More than most, it’ll depend on what kind of team drafts him. If they have a great culture, I think he’ll really excel.”
But, yeah, Bol hasn’t done much. He boasts career averages of 2.7 points and 1.2 rebounds on 48/38/67 shooting in 53 career games. Part of that was the Nuggets being really good for most of his time in Denver, but it’s fair to wonder why he never got a bigger chance.
His only “substantial” playing time came in The Bubble as a rookie:
He’s a lot of fun... but I’m not sure where he slots in.
Trey Lyles is playing really well right now. Isaiah Stewart is going to continue to be a staple. Kelly Olynyk may or may not be coming back in a few weeks. I think Bol, who has a $2.7 million qualifying offer this summer, could usurp Luka Garza in the rotation.
If he plays well, he could step in and give the Pistons size, athleticism and shooting along with shot blocking that, really, nobody else provides. If he doesn’t play well, this could play out similarly to Thon Maker’s time in Detroit.
Either way, the Pistons need to take shots on talent like this. It’s a low-risk, high-reward deal that can pay dividends. I’m sure the locker room will miss Rodney McGruder, a Weaver favorite, as a veteran presence, but gambling on Bol is a good move.
What do you think about the deal? Let us know in the comments.