NBA teams have fallen in love with the young French phenom Victor Wembanyama, and he is the most sought-after NBA Draft prospect since Lebron James. This article is not to downplay how great of a player he can be but to offer some insight into a player who has been forgotten but has shocking similarities to Wembanyama; his name is Bol Bol of the Orlando Magic.
Bol Bol is listed at 7’2 230 with a 7’8 wingspan, and Wembanyama is listed at 7’2 229 with an 8’0 foot wingspan; based on these metrics alone, the two match up well. While Bol Bol didn’t have the same level of hype and expectations as Wembanyama, he was given the “unicorn” label and was heavily recruited by college scouts.
Bol Bol is finally living up to the hype with the Orlando Magic.
He was ranked fourth in the country, trailing only Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett, and Cam Reddish. Bol went on to play for Oregon and averaged 21 points and nine rebounds per game, scoring from all three levels and protecting the paint, but was unfortunately sidelined with a foot injury and only played nine games.
Before the injury, he was a projected lottery pick, but scouts became skeptical, causing his draft stock to plummet. He fell to the second round and was drafted by the Miami Heat, who traded his rights to the Denver Nuggets.
He struggled to find playing time in a crowded frontcourt in Denver while on a two-way contract, but now he has found a home in Orlando. Better yet, Bol is finally starting to look like the player everyone had high hopes for years ago. Over the last five games, he’s averaged 18.0 points, ten rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game and has been a crucial piece for the Orlando Magic to start the season.
Bol is a unicorn much like how Victor Wembanyama is.
Bol’s versatility allows him to do everything on the basketball court. His height and lanky frame make him a good shot blocker and rim protector, but he is also able to stretch the defense out with his range, shooting 42 percent from three.
Bol has also shown the ability to create for himself in iso situations; he has a unique bag of moves that make him a nightmare to guard. He’s too nimble for bigs and can cross them over to create pull-ups, and he finishes well around the rim. If you switch a guard or forward on him, his size allows him to dominate in the post, making him a difficult matchup for opposing teams.
It’s very interesting hearing the Wembanyama talk with a guy like Bol, who is currently in the league and is only now getting a real shot at minutes. Wembanyama will be a great player in this league, but Bol has been forgotten about and can be a great player in this league too.
The Orlando Magic are struggling to find wins but are oozing young talent with players like Paolo Branchero and Franz Wagner. Bol is now another great asset they have on their hands, and it’ll be interesting to see his development as a player.