It’s been an up and down season for Long Beach Poly alum Jordan Bell, who won an NBA title last year during his rookie season with the Warriors. Bell was heralded by Golden State’s coaches and front office as a steal in the NBA Draft and a player with a bright future in the league.
He played big minutes for the Warriors in some playoff series, including very valuable stretches against Houston in the Western Conference Finals where he helped slow down James Harden in the series’ clinching game.
Then the offseason came, and the Warriors acquired All-Star DeMarcus Cousins, and Bell’s role changed overnight. Bell had been the first post off the bench last year and started several games–this year he found himself relegated one spot further down the bench. There was frustration throughout the year for Bell, but also patience–and it was rewarded.
After injuries to Cousins and Kevin Durant, Kerr made the decision late in the Warriors/Rockets conference semifinals to go to his bench, loosening up what had been a seven-man rotation and letting players like Bell and Quinn Cook spend a lot more time on the floor.
After having spent just 16 minutes on the floor in the playoff-opening series against the Clippers, and no minutes on the floor against the Rockets, Bell got 11 minutes in Game 6 against the Rockets, putting up four points, two blocks, two rebounds, and an assist.
In the first three games of the Western Conference Finals against the Trailblazers, Bell has averaged 13 minutes per game, with 6.7 points per game, 3 rebounds per game, 2 assists per game, on 55.7% shooting. Bell’s best game was Game 2, where he scored a career playoff-high 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting.
Bell hasn’t just been productive scoring, though–it’s been his energy on defense that’s impressed Kerr.
“Jordan Bell is giving us really good minutes,” he said of his performance in the Portland series. “We’ve really needed that energy and intensity off the bench.”