Celtics first-round options in the NBA Draft: Oregon center Bol Bol


BOSTON -- During Bol Bol’s first game with Oregon, there was a 36-second span in which he missed a dunk, caught a lob alley-oop, grabbed a defensive rebound and turned the ball over. 

He did a little bit of everything, which is both the blessing and the burden that comes with selecting the 7-foot-2 ½ (not so) big man in this month’s NBA draft. 

Bol has the kind of all-around skills that in most draft classes, would make him a top-5 lock. 

But the impressive play we saw from him at Oregon constituted just nine games courtesy of a foot fracture injury. 

And while the injury wasn’t deemed career-threatening or anything like that, there is concern that it could be the first of many physical setbacks for one of the most talented players in this year’s draft class. 

That’s the only reason why a team like the Boston Celtics has any hope of potentially landing him with one of their three, first-round picks - none of which are in the top 10. 

But that shouldn’t matter, not with most teams with a top-10 selection unlikely to roll the dice on the son of NBA legend Manute Bol. 

While Bol Bol certainly shares the height gene from his Sudanese-born father, that’s about the extent of their games being similar. 

The younger Bol is indeed more of a product of this generation of big men, one in which playing with one’s back-to-the-basket is far from a prerequisite to be a dominant big man. 

Bol Bol is seemingly at his best in transition, able to both initiate a break or finish it off with the kind of ball-handling skills you seldom see in a player with his length. 

At 7-2 ½, he has a 7-7 wingspan and a 9-7 ½ standing reach - just a half inch shy of the combine record measurement for standing reach. 

“He’s a big-time talent, no doubt about that,” an Eastern Conference scout told NBC Sports Boston. “There’s a risk with anyone you draft, obviously. But the risk is a little bit higher with him because he played so few games at Oregon and how his body responded to the time off with the injury.”

For most players who suffer a long-term injury, the concern among team officials usually centers around them gaining weight and thus becoming less impactful because of the added poundage. 

But Bol was just the opposite as he weighed in at 208 pounds at the NBA pre-draft combine in Chicago earlier this month. 

His new weight at the combine was about 30 pounds less than he weighed at the start of the college basketball season, raising lots of concerns about whether he can physically handle the rigors of being an NBA big man. 

And if you decide to have him play more of a wing position, does he have the lateral quickness to not get beat by quicker players? And conversely, does he have enough physical strength to get to the spots he wants to against shorter defenders. 

These are just some of the questions and concerns that make Bol Bol one of the more intriguing prospects in this year’s draft, a player that the Celtics have to give some thought to selecting with one of their three, first-round picks. 

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