Nuggets star forward Michael Porter Jr. gave a brutally honest assessment of how teammate Bol Bol can establish a presence in the NBA: “It’s just going to take a change of mindset.”
On Monday afternoon, before the team left for training camp in San Diego, the enigmatic 7-footer from Denver revealed an unexpected degree of self-awareness. Bol agreed with Porter.
“He’s absolutely right,” Bol said. “To add to that, it’s more consistency. It’s not just me doing it one or two days a week. I have to figure out how to put it in place for a whole year and not just when things are going my way. “
Expectations were high in 2019 when the Nuggets acquired Bol with the No. 44 pick (second round) in the NBA Draft with his towering height and effortless offense. Bol is now entering his third season in the league with just 39 Nuggets career games played. Last year he was buried on the bench with fewer minutes played than Zeke Nnaji, JaVale McGee and Vlatko Cancar.
Still, Bol was the history of the Nuggets’ Summer League game with 21.7 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game leading the team. He also adopted any position on the floor.
“Me, personally, I like all four. But that’s where I can find playing time, ”Bol said. “I can play any position as long as I put my mind and my heart into it. I can dribble, shoot and pass. One to five, I think it will be fine.
The Nuggets don’t have a traditional back-up center behind reigning MVP Nikola Jokic with a number of different forwards seen as solid playing options. Bol has so far lacked consistency in entering this conversation. But he thinks changing his daily habits, like better body language, is his way to save minutes.
“Even though I don’t play in a few games,” Bol said. “I still have to get up and clap.”
Porter, who signed on Monday for a maximum five-year extension for rookies, told reporters last week he had made more of an effort to frame Bol with invitations to late-night filming sessions and to other cultural strengthening activities. Bol said: “It’s a good thing for me and I’m happy he’s doing it.”
Bol added that more players in the Nuggets’ locker room have offered advice and encouragement.
“I’m just going to pursue what was my main goal in the Summer League, which was to play hard… and keep improving,” Bol said. “I just have to focus on staying locked up all year.”