DENVER | Bol Bol stands 7-foot-2 with a 7-7 wingspan.
That grudge? Even wider.
The Oregon center’s wait to hear his name called lasted longer than he anticipated. That’s OK — simply more fuel.
Denver acquired the draft rights to Bol at No. 44 from the Miami Heat on Thursday night in exchange for a future second-round pick and cash considerations.
By Bol’s calculation, he figured he’d go in the middle — possibly toward the end — of the first round even with a foot injury. His drop into the middle of the second round left him frustrated.
“My biggest takeaway, I honestly don’t know,” said Bol, who spent the entire first round in the green room.
Part of the reason for his free fall may have something to do with this: Bol was limited to nine games with Oregon last season due to a stress fracture in his left foot. Still, the 19-year-old native of Khartoum, Sudan, averaged 21 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks.
“My foot is 100 percent healed,” Bol said. “I just recently started to get back on the court about a month ago.”
Although the Nuggets didn’t have a pick in the draft, they tried to enter into the draft at various points throughout the evening. Each time, the price was too steep. But Bol was a player they couldn’t pass up. He’s the son of the late Manute Bol, who played 10 seasons for the Washington Bullets, Golden State Warriors, Philadelphia 76ers and the Heat.
“We’re not concerned as to why he fell. We feel very fortunate that he fell,” Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly said. “We were fortunate to add another young piece, a guy that we thought pretty highly of.”
Bol figures to form quite a tandem in the middle with Nuggets All-Star Nikola Jokic.
Funny, Bol actually studied Jokic’s game to become a better passing big man.
“He’s a very great player,” Bol said. “The Nuggets were a very great team last season. Very excited to be a part of the team.”
The Nuggets are coming off a 54-28 season in which they earned the No. 2 seed in the West. They made it to the conference semifinals before losing to Portland in Game 7. Denver has a young nucleus that includes Michael Porter Jr., the No. 14 selection last June who sat out the 2018-19 season. Porter was considered a top-five selection before a back injury limited him to three games at Missouri in 2017-18. The 6-foot-10 Porter slid to the Nuggets, who felt his talent was work the risk. A year ago, Porter underwent a second back surgery that sidelined him again.
He is making big strides and expected to play in the Summer League next month.
“Fantastic,” Connelly said when asked how Porter’s progressing. “We want to temper expectations but he looks healthier than he’s been in a long, long time.”
Porter’s rebound from his back injury is a reason why the Nuggets felt so confident in taking a gamble on Bol.
“It made us more comfortable,” Connelly said. “When you get a guy with the tools like Bol Bol, it’s hard not to be excited.”