It was November of 2014 when the whispers surfaced, and eventually, the evidence became overwhelming. The time had come for Draymond Green to replace David Lee in the Golden State Warriors’ starting lineup. Similar to then, the question now is, have we reached the same impasse with rookie Jordan Bell?
Draymond Green, for all intents and purposes, remains the heart and soul of the Warriors. He’s gritty, loud, and plays with his hair on fire. So much so that sometimes ‘flaming Draymond’ can get a little out of control. He’s been known to jaw at players and referees alike for longer than is normally allowed. If you can recall, the Warriors essentially lost game five of the 2016 NBA finals due to Draymond’s suspension (for which he kicked LeBron in the groin a game earlier).
Yet, Draymond is still that guy. He’s the guy that snatches down a rebound and runs coast-to-coast for a dunk. He’s the guy that can defend every position on the floor. He’s the guy that can set up and run the offense. Yes, he’s still the guy that other teams have to account for when he enters the game.
However, so is rookie Jordan Bell, save for running the offense (for now).
Jordan Bell isn’t a rookie. Except for when he is. Though most times he’s not. Does that make sense? We don’t quite understand it either.
Let’s take a step back here, just in case you aren’t up to speed. Jordan Bell was originally drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the 38th overall pick in the 2017 draft. Soon after, Warriors GM Bob Myers & Co. swooped in with a briefcase full of unmarked bills to the tune of $3.5 million to rid the Bulls of their worries. The city with a storied mobster history, took the money and ran. To this day, it’s the only rookie mistake on Jordan Bell’s resume, and yet he’s not even to blame.
Getting back to what Bell does on the court, where do we begin? Caught between a forward and a center (much like Draymond), Bell is a hybrid player. He’s an electric dude that can guard the bigs, as well as switch off and defend smaller players. Bell makes smart decisions on offense and chases down would-be layups with LeBron-like intensity. In Bell’s most recent game against the Orlando Magic, he posted 16-points in 16-minutes, snatched down three rebounds and blocked four shots. You can do your own math, but ours proves that Bell is the real deal.
Now, does this all mean that Jordan Bell should takeover for Draymond Green right now? The short answer is no. The long answer could potentially be no too.
There are two things going on here. First, Bell’s development certainly signals to the Warriors front office that they have options when Draymond Green’s contract comes up, or trade scenarios arise. Bell’s development also keeps Green honest in relation to how much he can actually get away with within the organization, not to insinuate that he tries to.
The second thing happening here is that Bell’s presence makes several players expendable, immediately. Those players include JaVale McGee, Kevon Looney, and Damian Jones. Ideally, Jordan Bell will start over Zaza Pachulia in games that the Warriors want to play a quicker style. This would allow Bell and Green to play side by side. However, a case can also be made that Bell should outright replace Pachulia, though Zaza does hold value against bigger bodied centers like Steven Adams and Joel Embiid.
While Bell is a player on the rise and the takeover is eventually coming, it’ll take a little more time to come to fruition. For now, watching Bell develop into the next big thing is fun to watch.