The Detroit Pistons trade second-round pick and Rodney McGruder for Bol Bol

(Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images)
(Photo by C. Morgan Engel/Getty Images) /

On Sunday, it was reported by Adrian Wojnarowski that the Detroit Pistons would be trading Rodney McGruder and Brooklyn’s second-round pick for Bol Bol.

Bol Bol famously is the son of legendary center, Manute Bol. Bol entered the draft after one season at Oregon, where he was taken 44th overall.

Since entering the league, Bol has not been able to crack the rotation in Denver, and this season, he has only played in 14 games averaging just 5.8 minutes per game. Despite the low usage, Bol is a talented player who could use a change of scenery.

What are the Detroit Pistons getting with Bol Bol?

The Pistons have been short on centers since Kelly Olynyk sprained his MCL, often relying on Luka Garza and Trey Lyles to play behind Isiah Stewart. Until Olynyk returns, it would not be surprising to see Bol get time as the backup center.

The first thing you notice with Bol is his size at 7’2 220 lbs. The intriguing part of Bol is that his playstyle is vastly different than the other bigs on the team. To pair with his great height, he is mobile on the perimeter; this combination gives him the potential to be a solid rim protector capable of altering shots at the rim and switching on the perimeter.

On offense, Bol profiles best as a stretch big. In nine games at Oregon, he hit 13 of 25 (52%), and so far in his NBA career, he is 14 of 37 (37.8%).

In Summer League, Bol has flashed some ball skills as well. He should work well as a lob threat in the pick and roll due to his size alone. This should help with Killian Hayes and Cade Cunningham, as the roster lacks a vertical threat on pick and rolls.

He can handle the ball for a 7’2 big and does a good job in transition after grabbing the rebound. He likely won’t be able to create a shot from scratch against NBA defenders in half-court, but if used correctly, his handle could be used to attack closeouts.

Looking at the positives, Bol sounds like a science experiment made to play basketball, but there is a reason the Pistons were able to get him for so little. The first thing you notice with Bol is his lack of bulk. His lack of strength affects him on both ends of the floor.

On offense, his lack of strength limits his ability to finish when contested at the rim, especially against the more physical centers. Bol’s struggle against those physical centers might restrict him to only playing as a power forward at the NBA level.

The strength limits Bol’s upside, but it is not a death blow. The bigger issue with Bol is on the mental side of the game. Going back to Oregon, Bol has struggled to stay focused and play with intensity. The hope is that the intensity and focus will pick up with a change of scenery and consistent minutes in reach.

What are the Detroit Pistons giving up?

Honestly, the Detroit Pistons aren’t giving up much. Rodney McGruder is a consummate professional who was always ready when his name was called; however, his name was rarely called.

In Denver, he will likely fill a similar role as an end of a bench player, but if needed, he would be a solid option capable of hitting shots. The Brooklyn second-round pick will likely be late in the 50s and is essentially a dibs on an undrafted player.

The Detroit Pistons are taking another swing on another highly touted prospect. Bol, a five-star recruit and McDonald’s All American, has not lived up to expectations. Bol is a high upside player who also fits a need as a pick and roll/pop threat with rim protection skills.

The key for Bol will likely be on the mental side of the game as the coaching staff will have to keep him locked in and playing hard. If things click for Bol, the Pistons will have a young talented big to play with their young guards.

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If not, Bol will be a restricted free agent at the end of the year, and the Pistons did not give up much in future assets with McGruder or the Brooklyn pick. Either way, this is a smart risk made by Troy Weaver, which at the very least, will be fun to watch.