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A Jordan Bell And Karl-Anthony Towns Frontcourt Has Plenty Of Potential
What will happen when Jordan Bell gets consistent minutes?
That’s what makes the Timberwolves’ signing of the former Warrior so intriguing.
Bell, 24, is a player who can guard any position defensively and has tons of playmaking potential offensively.
If Bell plays alongside Karl-Anthony Towns, the Wolves might just have the most-athletic frontcourt in the NBA.
After two seasons in Golden State where Bell was primarily a back-end rotational player, hel should get a real chance to showcase his skillset in Minnesota.
In his two seasons, Bell has averaged 10.9 points, 8.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 2.4 blocks and 1.2 steals per 36 minutes. While Bell isn’t going to play 36 minutes (although he’ll almost certainly play more than the 12.8 minutes per game he played the last two seasons with Golden State) per game for the Wolves, his all-around game is so rare and impressive for a player who is listed as a center.
Let’s start defensively. Bell is most-confident in a system where he’s allowed to switch.
“He told me that switching one through five was his most comfortable pick and roll coverage,” Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders said. “I think you can expect some of that.”
Saunders and Bell had some good talks at Summer League, including one about Drake, apparently.
If we learned anything while watching the NBA Playoffs it’s that the ability to guard multiple positions is necessary. While you’re not thrilled about Serge Ibaka guarding Stephen Curry, you’re OK with it in certain situations. That's probably how we should approach things with Bell.
Then again, you’re really not thrilled with anyone having to guard Stephen Curry.
Bell is 6’9. While undersized for a center or even power forward, we’re in a league where there are fewer and fewer true big men. Defensively at least, Bell truly is a positionless player. He’s still big enough to protect the rim, but also athletic enough to guard perimeter players.
He also hustles on fastbreaks from defense to offense, something you rarely see from a big.
Jordan Bell does a really nice job in transition defensively. Quick enough to move with guards running downhill, and athletic enough to contest fastbreak layups. pic.twitter.com/2quvB7Tkdy
— Kyle Ratke (@Kyle_Ratke) July 25, 2019
This should help Karl-Anthony Towns out defensively. Towns improved as a defender last season, but Bell is the type of player who makes everyone better on that end, and Towns will benefit the most. Bell can come from the weak side and block a shot in a hurry.
Offensively, Bell is an extremely underrated playmaker. A lot of that probably has to do with the fact that Bell’s skills have been somewhat overlooked because of how good Draymond Green has been for the Warriors. Some of Bell’s strengths offensively overlapped with Green’s.
Bell isn’t a great shooter, or even an average one, but he’s smart and opens things up for his teammates with simple cuts and very good passing instincts. Those cuts can easily lead to opening something up for other shooters or a quick lob to Towns at the basket when Towns’ defender slides to take a bucket away from Bell.
“Bringing my versatility and to help him become even a better player,” Bell said when asked about the prospect of playing with Towns.
“Me and Ryan talked during the Summer League and I said it’s not going to be too many games I have 20 points, but I’m OK having seven assists and giving KAT the ball . . . I’m very excited to work with KAT because I know how good of a player he is. I think me being the playmaker I am it’s going to expand our offense even more and expand his game even more.”
Towns hasn’t played with a player like Bell before, but the more and more you watch Bell play, you start to understand why Gersson Rosas and Saunders see him as a potential fit.