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In a game predicated on size, it almost defies belief that Bol Bol hasn’t made an impact yet in Denver.
Entering his third season, the tantalizing, yet raw skyscraper has tools most players couldn’t dream about.
“The guy is a huge person in terms of his physical stature, his size, his length, and he is really, really talented,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said on the Denver Post’s Nuggets Ink podcast this week.
At 7-foot-3, Bol’s the rare prospect with fluid ball-handling skills, a reliable outside stroke and a wingspan that could, theoretically, deter even the craftiest guards from driving the lane.
Theoretically, because two seasons after the Nuggets traded into the second round to get him, the stars haven’t come close to aligning for him.
The first layer is a nod to the Nuggets’ success, as they’ve distinguished themselves among the loaded Western Conference and started to scratch the surface of title contention. Outside of Milwaukee over the last three seasons, no team in the NBA has amassed more wins throughout the regular season and playoffs than the Nuggets.
That’s hardly the ideal environment to develop any prospect, let alone one as unique as Bol.
“Our first three years, we were developing, and young guys were given the opportunity to play, and more importantly, play through all their mistakes,” Malone said. “Well, Bol doesn’t have that option, man. It’s all trying to be homecourt advantage in the playoffs.”
While the Nuggets fought for seeding the last two seasons, Bol largely remained glued to the bench, buried on the depth chart behind big men Paul Millsap, JaMychal Green and Zeke Nnaji. Last season, former Nuggets Isaiah Hartenstein and JaVale McGee seemed to surpass Bol in the pecking order, as did hybrid forward Vlatko Cancar.
Whenever he played, the game was rarely still in the balance, and even then, his flashes often felt more like novelties.
Part of the dilemma with Bol will always be his positional fit. His thin frame is an impediment to playing inside, while his height makes it a challenge to guard traditional wings. The Nuggets didn’t have time to experiment last season and because of the pandemic-crunched schedule, rarely practiced.
But the outside circumstances of Denver’s rise would also mask one inarguable component to Bol’s development: his attitude.
According to Michael Porter Jr., the rare talent who was allowed to develop alongside Denver’s title chase, that might be changing.
“He’s scoring, blocking shots, playing with a good attitude, a good energy about him,” Porter said this week. “That’s really good to see. I’m trying to stay in his ear just because, Bol Bol, he can be a part of this team and help us do big things. It’s just gonna take a mindset change, which I think he’s ready to embrace. So I’m trying to text him, tell him to hang out with me, come to the gym with me at night, things like that because that kid is very talented.”
Aside from what those invitations say about Porter, it sheds even more light on what’s held Bol back since arriving in Denver.
Even after a positive showing in Las Vegas Summer League this year, attitude and drive have remained consistent themes with Bol.
“He’s young, and that’s not lost on us,” Malone said. “But he just has to show a little bit more consistency, from day-to-day, in and out and stay ready so when his number is called, he can go out there and play and play at a high level. And then you get a little bit more consistent minutes, and then you become a part of the rotation and build from there.”
While Bol’s path to the rotation might be riddled with obstacles, his individual approach is probably the first step to establishing a foothold in Denver. And if Porter’s right and Bol’s mindset has shifted, perhaps the biggest guy on the roster will soon make himself less invisible.
LEBANON, Ill. – The Lebanon CUSD has canceled class Monday due to damage surrounding the school.
Lebanon CUSD said in a Facebook post that they “have power lines down and a dangerous situation on campus.”
Ameren told the school district that the situation should be cleaned up by mid-day or late afternoon. The school day will be made up at the end of the year.
A tornado Sunday night caused damaged from Farmington, Missouri to Chester, Illinois.
CHESTER, Ill. – Sunday night’s tornado hopped from Missouri right over into Illinois.
FOX 2’s Meteorologist Jaime Travers was in the Woods Basement System Storm Runner Monday morning taking a look at the damage in Chester, Illinois.
Travers said residents were properly warned about all of the storms across the area. The tornado started in Fredericktown, Missouri and then moved to Farmington, then to St. Mary and then to Chester, Illinois.
Travers found a barn leveled by the tornado in Chester. Trees were also mangled and power lines are down. The roof of a nursing home on Palestine Road was also torn off.
ST. MARY, Mo. – The town of St. Mary, Missouri is about 80 miles south of St. Louis and it was hit hard by Sunday night’s tornado.
7th Street in St. Mary is the epicenter of the tornado damage there. Debris is scattered everywhere along the street. St. Mary’s antique mall suffered extensive damage.
Several homes along 7th street are also severely damaged or even destroyed.
The storm hit St. Mary at approximately 8 p.m. Sunday.
“There was not a whole lot of sounds and then everything just went still. I do remember everything going still,” St. Mary resident Nick Grogg said. “I was on the phone with dad. He said something bad is about to happen. That’s when I went downstairs. I didn’t think it was going to be anything like this.”
There were no serious injuries in the area due to the tornado.
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