As a team that only won 20 games this past season, the Brooklyn Nets have many holes on the team and the lack of defense is right at the top of the list. The defense was poor all around and the team was second to last in terms of points allowed (112.5) even though the defense improved towards the end of the season when they played close to .500 for over 20 games. One of the biggest issues was the lack of interior defense and rebounding which is why it is very likely that Brooklyn will at least use one of the two first round picks on a big man whether at the four or five.
Of the top defensive players available in this draft, Power Forward Jordan Bell out of the University of Oregon is near the top of the list. The qualities that makes him an impact player on defense are his elite athleticism, high motor, versatility, and shot blocking which was evident when he not only helped lead the Oregon Ducks to the Final Four this past NCAA tournament but also took away Pac 12 Defensive Player of the Year honors as a junior. In an interview done with CSNNW, Bell talked about his trip to Chicago for the combine and mentioned Brooklyn as one of the teams that he has been in contact with.
Jordan Bell is listed at 6’9″ and 227 pounds with a 38 inch vertical leap. His physical measurements at the NBA Combine could catapult his draft stock from early second round to possibly late first round, at this time where the Nets have the 27th pick. As of now, he is projected to be taken 33rd by Draft Express but he could go in the first round with good workouts prior to the draft.
At the Combine he had the fourth fastest shuttle run (2.83 seconds) which is primarily dominated by guards and he also had the third best time for lane agility (10.83) of any power forward drafted as per the Combine database. With such speed and agility, he is a versatile defender who is capable of guarding all positions if necessary. Switching is a big part of defenses due to frequent pick and rolls as well as screens so having an elite athlete like Bell will improve the team defense with a player who could guard multiple positions the way he can.
The natural position that Jordan Bell played in college was at the four but when Oregon center Chris Boucher went down with a torn ACL prior to the NCAA tournament, Bell replaced Boucher as a small ball center. He excelled as he posted averages of 12.6 points on 73 percent shooting, 13.2 rebounds, and three blocks in 31.4 minutes per game. He was Oregon’s best player and the Ducks went 4-1 before losing in the Final Four to the eventual national champions North Carolina Tar Heels.
At 6’9″ with a wing span of 6’11” and 227 pounds, he will be undersized as a center in the NBA but he should be able to play the five in small ball lineups which could increase his value in the draft. Bell is coming off a decent regular season as he averaged 11 points on 63.6 percent shooting along with 8.7 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks in 29 minutes per game.