The Golden State Warriors’ Jordan Bell has been a strong addition to this year’s rotation of big men. He is quickly earning more minutes.
The Golden State Warriors almost have too much talent for their own good. Steve Kerr, a coach who historically loves to go deep into his bench, has a lot of options. The combination of his tendencies and the desire to make a fourth straight run to the NBA Finals leads to inconsistent roles.
Jordan Bell has become one of the victims to Kerr’s shaky, unpredictable rotations. Some days he gets heavy minutes with the stars. Other times he spends the entire game on the bench in a suit on the inactive list.
The Warriors acquired Bell on Draft Night for $3.5 million from the Chicago Bulls. It was the second time in as many years that they exchanged some cash for a second rounder. Last year, it was Patrick McCaw.
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Bell deserves to be in the rotation. It’s become increasingly clear that he’s one of the Warriors’ most valuable assets at that position. He provides a boost in energy and athleticism that can open things up for Golden State.
Last year, JaVale McGee was extremely effective for the Dubs, particularly on the offensive end. The Warriors’ playmakers looked for him on rolls and cuts so that they could throw up lobs to the leaper. This season, he hasn’t been able to get into that same rhythm.
Bell has been like a new-and-improved version of that McGee. He is quicker and more poised with the ball in his hands. The big difference is on the defensive end, where Bell completely blows the seven footer out of the water.
Now, Bell isn’t perfect. Sometimes he’s late on rotations. His youth and inexperience are evident every now and then.
Still, he’s becoming a better option for McGee. Though he’s improved, Kevon Looney‘s lack of speed and explosiveness are big problems. Bell should be comfortably sitting above them on the depth chart.
There are really three other centers: Zaza Pachulia, David West, and Draymond Green. Pachulia, who is locked in as a starter, will eat up minutes against bigger centers. West has been shooting the ball well and he is a stabilizing force for the reserve unit. Green is the anchor for their generally-powerful-yet-currently-struggling small ball unit.
Bell provides a change of pace. He can run the pick-and-roll with Stephen Curry better than Pachulia and West and differently than Green because he’s a legitimate threat at the rim. Defenses have to honor his leaping ability.
He’s the type of player that automatically energizes those around him. He’s raw, but that’s to be expected. He makes plays happen, even when it doesn’t look possible–remember how he turned a Klay Thompson airball into a dunk?
Following the Warriors’ win over the Orlando Magic, Steve Kerr said that he would find time to put Bell into the game. He’s been + in 15 of his 17 games, including a +20 against the Bulls, the team that traded him.
Kerr needs to find 10-15 minutes for Bell throughout the game. He’s earned it.