I wouldn't call it hysteria or anything, but Jordan Bell's 5x5 (at least five points, steals, blocks, rebounds and assists) in the Summer League last night did, I dunno, let's say make a couple waves.
The Ringer even wrote about it! Haley O'Shaughnessy called him "the perfect Draymond apprentice" and he himself Tweeted he was "just trying to be like Draymond." This is cool, and there's definitely a striking resemblance in a lot of ways.
Dray was an accomplished college player at a big school who wasn't much-heralded because he was undersized (6-7) for a power forward and didn't seem to have the fluidity or isolation ability of a traditional wing. However, he had a 7-foot wingspan, incredible defensive aptitude and loads of basketball smarts.
Jordan Bell is an accomplished college player from a big school who wasn't much-heralded because he is undersized (6-8 1/2) for a center and doesn't have the fluidity or isolation ability of a more nimble power forward or wing. However, he has a 6-11 1/2 wingspan, incredible defensive aptitude and loads of basketball smarts.
Check out Bell's 5x5 highlights. His fantastic blocking instincts are on display, his hands are shockingly quick on those steals, and he has a much better nose for passing than I expected from him at this stage. He could be a useful role player at the end of the bench for the Warriors next season, and projects solidly into their rotation for the long-term.
But let's step back from the Draymond comparison for just a second.
These two are wildly different offensive players, even for the early stage in their respective careers.
Dray is 6-7 and often plays like he's 6-3. He's actually quite good putting the ball on the floor, he can attack one-on-one and drop runners in the lane. He doesn't have much of a mid-range game to speak of, but he can hit reasonably well from three. Green's not just a decent passer, he's an excellent one, a true point forward.
Between his offense and defense, Draymond is probably the single most-versatile player in the NBA today.
Jordan Bell, meanwhile, is 6-9(ish) and often plays like he's 7-2.
Check out those 5x5 highlights again. Defensively, absolutely, he's Dray-esque. Offensively, no, not close.
There's one moment where he rolls off a pick, gets the ball and immediately passes off. There's another where he passes up an open look from the top of the key, dribbles, fakes again from the free-throw line, and passes off. There's one where he gets the ball with an ocean of space from 12-13 feet and instead dribbles into the key to pass off.
This isn't just picking on one game, either. Check out his highlights from the first Summer League game and from Oregon last year. He almost exclusively finishes at the rim.
Bell has real dribble-drive ability and a real feel for the pass, to the point where I could envision his ball-handling and playmaking approaching (though almost certainly never matching) Draymond's in time. But Green is the perfect small-ball center because he can guard up and help keep the floor spaced on the other end. Bell can definitely guard up but if can't be a threat even from 10 feet, he's going to have a very difficult time being more than a seventh or eighth man in the NBA.
There's nothing wrong with that, of course, but Draymond Green, our comparison here, is one of the most valuable starters in the NBA.
Can Bell shoot at all? Can he learn? There's some circumstantial evidence that he could, possibly. He's bricking left and right in this draft workout video, for instance, but his form doesn't look all that bad and he eventually catches a brief rhythm. In the couple video examples I can find of him actually shooting in-game (2:20 in the video above and 3:05 in the second video below) he gets really good lift and his release is mostly clean. I mean, he's got kind of a stiff elbow-pop on the way up and his wrists are loose on release, but if Draymond can drop 'em with his herky-jerky missile launch of a shot, Bell's form is at least in theory workable.
He could, conceivably, be a good or okay shooter. There are tools in there.
But let's also be realistic. For as ugly as his shot can look, Draymond took over 6 threes a game his final two years at Michigan State and left college with a respectable-enough 36.1 three-point shooting percentage. He had already shown, to some extent, he could actually make shots.
Bell took just 0.7 threes a game last year for Oregon, making 21.4 percent.
Further, Dray had also already shown he was multi-faceted offensively. HIs assist percentage was 26.0 at MSU and his career usage rate just about ticked over to 25.0. Bell at Oregon notched an assist percentage just under 11.0 and his usage rate was about 16.0.
Jordan Bell has some tools to where might get to the point that he can flash an offensive game like Draymond Green's, and if anyone could teach him it would certainly seem to be the Warriors and Dray himself. But we should also clearly understand that at this point, Bell is a very long way from being the offensive package Green was even in his first couple NBA seasons.