Bol Bol’s emergence is key for the Orlando Magic’s growth

Bol Bol entered the season with few expectations. But he has quickly become a key rotation player for the Orlando Magic. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Bol Bol entered the season with few expectations. But he has quickly become a key rotation player for the Orlando Magic. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /

One of the biggest question marks for the Orlando Magic coming into this season was Bol Bol.

His injury history and little time on an NBA court made for a lot of concern coming into this season.

It was unsure whether he could stay healthy, play big minutes and make an impact on the court. But after an amazing training camp and preseason, he made his way into the rotation.

Now six games into the season, he has been one of the most consistent and impactful players in the lineup and even got his first start in the Orlando Magic’s first win against the Charlotte Hornets.

He has been one of the few bright spots on the team so far. But his impact and growth are undeniable thus far. It makes it seem unbelievable that he was not getting regular minutes before this season.

Although it has only been six games into this NBA season, what we have seen from Bol is excellent and hopefully a preview of what is to come the whole season.

In an early season of frustration for the Orlando Magic, Bol Bol has been the team’s brightest spot and biggest surprise. Bol has made an impact in every way and has forced his way into the rotation.

Bol has made an impact simply with his energy every single night. That is a big thing this young team needed to take its next steps.

Bol’s defense has been arguably the best on the Magic this season and that starts with his paint protection. Although Bol might seem quite skinny, his length and size make up for it and allow him to be a valuable paint protector.

Bol is third in the league in total blocks, fifth in blocks per game and first in block percentage in the early season. He has 14 blocks on the season which is already a career-high for him.

He has been all over. His size and length, along with athleticism and defensive IQ allow him to be in position and make blocks that most other centers could not make.

The Magic have a 98.3 defensive rating with Bol on the floor, the best mark on the team and the only mark better than a point per possession so far this year. That suggests Bol has been a major impactor defensively.

He averages 2.3 blocks per game and has had at least one block in every game so far. This includes two games with 4 blocks and 4 games with multiple blocks. He has been one of the leagues best help defenders and does a great job of knowing when to leave his man to go get a block.

His defensive impact is not just in paint protection. He can really slide his feet, and guard almost all positions on the perimeter and in the post.

In his first start, he was matched up with P.J Washington who he held to just 2-for-9 shooting and 1-for-6 from three. Washington is a player who plays a lot on the perimeter and the inside, so to see him be able to guard all over the court is truly incredible.

This one matchup has been an example for the whole season so far. He has held opponents to just 41.9-percent shooting ,16.7-percent shooting from three and 36.7-percent from mid-range. His perimeter defense has been just as good as his interior defense.

What is great about this defense is he can block shots and guard the perimeter and the post without fouling. He has committed just seven fouls in six games.

Normally when you see someone who goes for so many blocks and has to guard all around at his size especially, they are prone to commit some fouls, or get caught jumping where they have no choice but to foul. This is not the case with Bol, his defensive IQ and length allow him to block shots from a good distance and allow him to know when he should go for a block.

Bol’s defensive impact was a big reason that he worked his way into the starting lineup, and could be what makes the biggest difference for him all season.

Bol Bol is a great defensive player but he is equally as talented on the offensive end. He has not only done a great job on offense, but he has done it at an insanely efficient rate.

He can dribble like a guard and does a great job of turning defense into offense. He can grab a tough rebound and then run the offense and get out in transition immediately without having to slow down or look for a guard.

That ability to turn his defense directly into offense is what makes the big man unique. He is a very skilled player.

So far this season, Bol is averaging 10.0 points per game, which includes a career-high 19 points against the New York Knicks, and 60 total points on the season which is already the second-highest scoring season he has had.

Those are great numbers. But what is really crazy to see is his efficiency.

He is shooting 64.1 percent which is seventh in the league. His two-point field goal percentage is 71.9 percent which is third, his effective field goal percentage is 66.7 percent which is ninth, and his true shooting percentage is 68.4 percent which is 14th.

He is top 15 in the league in all major shooting percentages besides three-point shooting. He is shooting 2 for 7 on threes this season which is 28.6 percent. The whole team is struggling there though.

He is shooting 40 percent on catch-and-shoot threes and both of his made threes were on catch-and-shoot shots.

He has shot better than 66 percent from the field in four of the first six games so far this season, and he has scored double-digit points in three of those games.

He is not merely a jump shooter though. Bol is effective at getting to the basket and working in the paint despite his slight frame.

One reason his inside efficiency is so good is because of his offensive rebounding ability. His pursuit for offensive rebounds is something that cannot be taught or coached. He has pulled down nine offensive rebounds in six games.

He is shooting 77.8 percent from within 10 feet and this has been a major reason why.

His efficiency has really been seen during his last three games. In his last three games, he is averaging 13.0 points per game, on 70-percent shooting from the field, while pulling in 7.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game in just 23 minutes per game.

Bol’s offense down low and his ability to stretch the floor has opened up the Magic’s offense to new levels, especially while Wendell Carter struggles to shoot the three early in the season.

Just as the Magic have been good with Bol on the floor defensively, they are also good offensively. Orlando is posting a 106.0 offensive rating with Bol on the floor. The Magic’s +7.7 net rating with Bol on the floor is the best mark on the team and the only positive mark.

It is still early. But that shows how impactful Bol has been. All these elements have not just led to good statistics for the young big man but has also helped the team produce on the floor.

Bol has finally shown he is meant to be in the league, and he seems to just be getting started. Offensively and Defensively he has been a top player in the Magic and he should be expecting increased play and maybe even more starts.

With injuries to guards, and his guard-like ability, his presence in the starting lineup allows the Magic to go big and start a lineup with no true point guard as they did against Charlotte. This gives them a size and length edge against most teams which gives them an advantage in all aspects of the court.

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Bol’s great play already answers one of the biggest questions for the Magic this year, and should get fans enthusiastic for what is to come. Bol allows them to play in a whole new way, and there should be excitement to see where the Magic go from here.