Draft Lead

Bol Bol’s Fractured Draft Stock

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Oregon head coach Dana Altman and his Ducks were already dealing with front court issues this season, with Abu Kiga announcing that he is transferring and Kenny Wooten Jr. dealing with a broken jaw. Then came the knockout punch.

On Thursday afternoon, Altman was dealt a devastating blow to his team, as it was announced that star freshman center Bol Bol is likely going to be missing the rest of season after reportedly suffering a stress fracture in his left foot.

Bol, the son of former NBA Legend Manute Bol, had been a focal point of the Ducks team this season despite only playing in nine games. While helping lead the team to a 9-4 record, the Sudanese native put up 21 points to go along with 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. The Ducks, however, will now have to rely on Payton Pritchard, Paul White and Victor Bailey Jr. to handle the scoring load.

Even though the sample size of nine games is small, the positives were noted when Bol played. With the NBA turning towards a more 3-point focused offense, teams have asked many of their forwards and centers to develop a three-point and mid range game. Despite being 7’2, Bol is already showing a promising jump shot. Bol shot the three ball at a 56% clip in the nine games he played, making 13 out of 25 attempted while taking one to two threes a game. For a 7’2 center, only averaging 2.7 blocks per game can easily be seen as disappointing. Even if Bol didn’t get a block, however, he would impact the shot in the paint, whether it was a block or not.

The Injury

Now, the main question that comes from Bol’s injury, is how far he will slide in the 2019 NBA Draft. There have been numerous NBA centers who have had foot injuries that have derailed their NBA careers. From Bill Walton to Yao Ming, this type of injury can completely change the outlook of Bol’s NBA career.

Following surgery on his fracture, his agent, Bryan Freedman, said this to The Athletic:

“At surgery, two screws were inserted into the navicular bone and bone graft from his pelvis was added to speed up the healing, which will expedite his return to play.”

Bol will begin his rehab shortly after, and he will continue to get up to speed so he will be ready for draft workouts.

With the season ending injury, a tumbling draft stock comes with it. A tall, lanky center with a foot injury coming into the league is a red flag for some general managers. A comparable case for Bol is 76ers star center Joel Embiid. Embiid was projected as the top pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Then, days before the draft, he suffered a stress fracture in his foot. Embiid ended up slipping to third, rather than first. However, there were differences in Embiid’s draft stock. He had a more defined post game, along with having a more ideal NBA body. While Bol has the height, he is extremely skinny, weighing in at around 235 pounds. The post scoring of Bol’s repertoire also needs work.

Where His Draft Stock Sits

Before the injury, Bol was looking like a surefire top ten pick. Now, he could slide down as far as a late lottery pick, or even the late teens. With Bol sliding down draft boards, there are a couple of prospects that will move up. Daniel Gafford from Arkansas could now be the first center off the board. Or someone like Texas’ Jaxson Hayes, an athletic yet raw center, could jump to the top center prospect. Even players like Maryland’s Bruno Fernando or Western Kentucky’s Charles Bassey could drastically improve their stock. Heck, even KK Mega Bemax’s own Goga Bitadze can keep his stock rising.

Bol Bol’s draft stock has taken a crucial hit. With already existent questions about his transition to the NBA and his frail frame, his injury adds further questions. If all goes well with his rehab, and looks good in workouts, he could save his stock. But, with foot injuries being a very worrisome injury, especially for centers, Bol’s draft stock looks fractured.

All stats courtesy of ESPN

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