Breaking down Jordan Bell’s role with the Minnesota Timberwolves

OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 05: Jordan Bell #2 of the Golden State Warriors dunks the ball. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 05: Jordan Bell #2 of the Golden State Warriors dunks the ball. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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3. Ryan Saunders will fall in love with Jordan Bell and play him accordingly

Don’t be shocked if Jordan Bell finds himself in the starting lineup before the calendar turns to 2020.

In a drastically increased role from his time in Golden State, I fully expect Bell to thrive almost immediately on defense, which will force Ryan Saunders’ hand in getting him on the floor early and often alongside KAT and Robert Covington.

His quick learning could allow the Wolves to play a tantalizing defensive lineup chock full of length with Culver, Wiggins, Covington, Bell, and Towns. A freakish group’s measurement would give opposing head coaches nightmares.

Height | Wingspan

  • Culver: 6-foot-7 | 7-foot-1
  • Wiggins: 6-foot-8 | 7-foot
  • Covington: 6-foot-9 | 7-foot-2
  • Bell: 6-foot-9 | 7-foot
  • Towns: 7-foot | 7-foot-4

All five of these guys can check at least three positions and could wind up being the featured lineup down the stretch of important games because of its defensive potential.

Vanterpool has long loved funneling ball handlers into the lane so bigs with size and long arms can make playmaking and shotmaking extremely difficult for the offense.

Bell and Towns would do an excellent job next to one another in altering shots, and with smart off-ball defenders like Covington and Culver on the floor, Wiggins could take risks that would result in breakaway fastbreaks on the other end.

On offense, I think Bell will continue to be utilized how he has been in his first two seasons.

Golden State loved using Jordan as an off-ball screener for the Splash Brothers. Bell’s defenders frequently lost sight of him after he set the screen in order to run Steph and Klay off the line, which opened Bell up for easy layups and dunks, like these two clips.

In the first clip, Meyers Leonard hedges the screen, leaving Bell open down low for a layup. In the last play, Markkanen knows what’s coming and leaves Jordan alone to force the ball out of Steph’s hands. Justin Holiday doesn’t get to Bell in time, and he scores another easy basket.

In other variations of this play, I’ve seen Bell slip this screen for an easy lob and Klay back-screen JB for a lob.

Teague and Napier are both adept lob passers, so expect to see No. 7 in white soaring high for alley-oops this upcoming season.

In this play, the Rockets know Bell was frequently used as an off-ball screener, so Mbah a Moute is expecting him to set a screen for Klay on the wing. Bell smartly reads that he slows down and waits for the screen, so he bolts to the rim and finishes off a great pass from Draymond.

If Ryan Saunders and Pablo Prigioni can design sets that allow for Jordan to read the defense make these decisions on his own, it’ll put a ton of pressure on the defense and lead to some big-time throwdowns.

The L.A. native can also be effective in the handoff game, getting a head of steam towards the basket.

I’d love to see a play very similar to this, but have Wiggins receiving the ball on the handoff. Getting Wig the opportunity to attack off the bounce and distribute for his teammates will help improve his vision and confidence making plays.

Since Wiggins is a threat to score whenever he gets going toward the basket, Bell should find himself with open lanes to the rim more often than not and create easy scoring chances.

Even in free-flowing motion offense, I love the potential Bell has shown so far in his career, especially in regard to his understanding of spacing.

On a play like this, Bell knows he’s not a threat to shoot from the corner, so he stays home on the block, wait for his defender to step up to the ball and be an open target for the ball-handler.

He scored baskets like this in just about every game he played in during his tenure in Golden State.

Because he’s a potent perimeter shooting threat, KAT will drag larger defenders out to the perimeter, which will allow for Bell to remain near the basket and maintain this spacing when his teammates drive to the lane.

Jordan Bell will play his way into the lineup because of his defensive abilities, but he can absolutely be a factor on offense by playing to his strengths and using his athleticism to put pressure on the defense when screening off-ball and flying to the rim on defensive lapses.

It won’t take long for the Minnesota coaching staff to fall in love with this guy and figure out the best ways to maximize his talents on both ends of the floor, hopefully for years to come.

Next. The Wolves' most important addition is Robert Covington. dark

STAT PROJECTION:  11.4 points,  8.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 62.6 FG%, 65.1 FT%, 2.3 blocks, 1.7 steals in 26.7 minutes per game.