That’s the amount of combined regular season and playoff minutes the recently-turned 22-year-old Bol Bol has received since he was selected by the Miami Heat and rerouted to the Denver Nuggets with the 44th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
The 7-foot-2, 220-pound talent and enigmatic son of Manute — one of the NBA’s great shot-blockers — Bol has spent most of the last three seasons chillin’ on the Nuggets bench. And just a few days ago, he was centered in one of our first potentially meaningful NBA trades of the 2021-22 season, going from the Nuggets to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Rodney McGruder and a future second-round draft pick. (Editor's Note: The Pistons-Nuggets trade with Bol Bol was voided on Jan. 13 due to a failed physical, per The Denver Post's Mike Singer).
You may recall that Bol was one of the country’s best high
school prospects in a 2018 senior class that famously included Zion
Williamson, RJ Barrett and Cam Reddish, the three of which he
directly followed in
100. It isn’t full
proof — you’ll occasionally have a
Kaleb Tarczewski —
but typically, you’ll get an NBA
rotation player more often than you don’t in that top-four
And in Bol's lone season at the University of Oregon, where he committed to before the 2018-19 college basketball season, the big man averaged 21.0 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game while putting up .561/.520/.757 shooting splits. The common player comparison was Kristaps Porziņģis — one he even drew himself as a rookie — and if you watched Bol work, you might’ve arrived at the same conclusion.
The issue is, even as he produced all of that in just 29.8 minutes per contest, many had questions about the sustainability of his game, largely for health reasons. Bol played nine college games before a season-ending foot injury cut his long year with the Ducks short. He then entered the 2019 draft, where he fell to round two after once being considered a top-five pick.
As a result, we knew Bol would be handled with kid gloves, caution tape and bubble wrap coming into the league, so much that he was signed to a two-way contract after being drafted as opposed to inking a typical rookie-scale deal. For somebody who Nuggets president Tim Connelly claimed to have had in the top-10 of the franchise's internal big board, it was a hell of a way to show it.
We weren’t supposed to see Bol in the NBA in his first year (and even in the G League, he only appeared eight times), but it took a pandemic for him to hit the floor in the Orlando Bubble when the 2019-20 season resumed. Bol played in seven regular season games, averaging 5.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in 12.4 minutes per contest with 500/.444/.800 splits; he later added four garbage-time appearances in the Nuggets' blowout playoff losses. But as a rookie who sat for most of the year, we understood it.
After that, coming into his sophomore campaign, he was finally signed to a standard two-year contract worth over $4 million, a deal that expires after this season. For context, Bol is making over $2.1 million this season, which is more than the Miami Heat are paying Max Strus ($1.67 million), Gabe Vincent ($1.67 million), Omer Yurtseven ($1.49 million) and Caleb Martin ($462K), who are winning games for their shorthanded selves.
During the previous two seasons, we’ve seen Bol for 247 of those 355 total minutes. This year, despite COVID and injuries to the Nuggets, he's only played 81 minutes in total.
And in these last two seasons in which Bol has played 49 games, including three playoff appearances and 14 contests this year, he’s averaged around five minutes per game... That’s it.