Top NBA Prospects in the Pac-12, Part Seven: Prospects #17-20September 9, 2015
A consensus top-75 recruit in high school, who was subsequently forced to redshirt his first year at Oregon due to not being cleared academically until December, Jordan Bell got thrown into the fire as a freshman, averaging 4.9 points, 6 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks over 24 minutes per game, emerging as a regular starter for Oregon mid-year.
Listed at 6-9, with a long wingspan, Bell is a mobile, agile power forward who makes an impact with his athleticism. Tipping the scales around 220, Bell will need to get stronger in the coming seasons to help him hold his own inside, but he has plenty of time to work on his body in the coming years.
Skill-wise, Bell is a fairly limited player at this point, seeing most of his touches around the basket and in transition, while not being counted on for scoring regularly in Oregon's offense. Capable of playing above the rim and showing nice explosiveness inside, Bell has average footwork and touch and tries to do too much in the air at times. He finishes reliably, and flashes some potential as a midrange shooter and face up driver, but doesn't have a reliable means to create for himself at this stage. Getting to the line at a low rate, shooting only 50% once he gets there, and showing little post game to speak of, Bell has a long way to go offensively as his skill-level is clearly still catching up with his physical tools, even if he surprises you at times with his court vision and passing ability.
As a rebounder, Bell is capable on both ends, but could be more aggressive crashing the boards. He doesn't appear to have the best instincts, getting by largely on athleticism, and doesn't always seek out bodies to box out, two things he'll have to improve if he's to take the next step as a rebounder.
Where Bell does already make contributions is as a shot-blocker, an area where he ranked among the top-20 players in the entire country on a per-minute basis. An extremely aggressive off-ball defender, Bell pursues shots rotating over from the weakside with reckless abandon, swatting shots that many players wouldn't even pursue. Committing 4.4 fouls per-40 minutes pace adjusted while blocking 4.1 shots, Bell can be a bit too aggressive at times defensively, but flashes terrific potential as a rim protector.
As an on-ball defender, Bell is a bit less successful, as more mature, polished, and stronger post scorers take advantage of his lack of strength and discipline inside. He has nice foot speed allowing him to defend smaller players at times on the perimeter, but doesn't have a great grasp of how to use that to his advantage, often finding himself out of position when opposing players look to take him off the bounce. At this stage, Bell still has room to grow as a defender, but has a lot of upside on this end of the floor.
Unlike so many young, fairly raw defensive-oriented big men we've seen in the past, Jordan Bell got the opportunity to play significant minutes right away. While he wasn't overwhelmingly productive, his inclusion on the Pac-12 All-Defensive and All-Freshman teams a year ago is telling of how big his role was a year ago. Players in his mold can make big, sudden jumps in ability so it makes sense to continue to keep track of his progress to see how he's improving, and despite offseason foot surgery, there's little question Bell will have ample opportunity to showcase whatever progress he's made once again this season.
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