Summer League: Jonah Bolden’s fit with the Philadelphia 76ers

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 17: The 2017 NBA All-Star logo is seen on a net prior to the 2017 BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge at Smoothie King Center on February 17, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 17: The 2017 NBA All-Star logo is seen on a net prior to the 2017 BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge at Smoothie King Center on February 17, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

After a handful of strong performances, Jonah Bolden is making his name known for the Philadelphia 76ers‘ Summer League squad.

Jonah Bolden was considered the “mystery” of the 2017 NBA Draft. He’s moved around quite a bit before being selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 36th overall pick in June’s draft.

The Australian native moved to the United States, attended a prep school at the high school level and later ended up at UCLA.

Philadelphia 76ers
Philadelphia 76ers /

Philadelphia 76ers

But after a brief stint as a Bruin, Bolden turned pro overseas for KK FMP in Belgrade, Serbia in the Adriatic League. He was named the Top Prospect in the league after averaging 12.9 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, one steal and one block. Dario Saric and Nikola Jokic were previously named Top Prospects of the league — that’s pretty good company.

Bolden’s talents have also continued to catch the eyes of many in the Utah Summer League. At 6-foot-10, 227 pounds, he has the ability to stretch the floor. He shot 41.9 percent from three last year on 4.2 attempts per game.

In the Utah Summer League, Bolden averaged 10.0 points on 37.9 percent shooting, 5.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 2.0 steals and 2.3 blocks per game.

Bolden is also versatile on the defensive side of the ball. He would give the Sixers’ lineup flexibility on pick-and-rolls since he can switch and guard multiple positions.

But as of right now, it looks like Bolden will be a stash player overseas for the Sixers. The Sixers’ roster is filled to the max with Furkan Korkmaz signing his contract and the team adding J.J Redick and Amir Johnson in free agency.

Bolden also signed a two-year contract prior to the draft with the Red Star Belgrade, however, he told reporters his deal has an NBA buyout.

Maybe, a spot on the Sixers’ roster opens up by unloading the untradeable Jahlil Okafor. There’s about a zero percent chance that happens, but hey, a little bit of optimism doesn’t hurt.

Below, we’ll take a look at some plays Bolden has made during the Utah Summer League and how he would fit with the Sixers’ lineup:

Bolden bursted onto the scene in the first Summer League game against the Boston Celtics Monday night. He recorded nine points, four rebounds, an assist and a game-high four blocks in his debut.

In the second quarter, Bolden showed how valuable his transition defense was by tracking a player down on the fastbreak.

Bolden continued this against the Utah Jazz Wednesday night. He was behind halfcourt when the pass was lobbed over his head, but he used his quickness and athleticism to save a bucket.

The Sixers could also use Bolden as a rim protector in the future next to Joel Embiid. Check out the weakside help provided here by Bolden.

It’s a small sample size in the Summer League against lesser skilled players, but in the clip below, Bolden shows he’s capable of guarding multiple positions. With a 7-foot-3 wingspan, he has the length you want out of a forward in the NBA.

Instead of letting the player penetrate to the basket, Bolden forces him to kick the ball out to the wing.

Here, Bolden displays some defensive instincts. Larry Drew II gets screened and his man is able to sneak out to the perimeter to receive the inbound pass.

Bolden is forced to swtich onto to Drew’s man. Instead of being outmatched, Bolden stays in front of his man and forces him to take a difficult fade-away jumper.

Lastly, we’ll take a look at Bolden’s outside shot. He was 2-of-9 from three and 6-of-19 from the field entering Thursday night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs.

But, Bolden had his best performance of the Utah Summer League against the Spurs. He had 16 points, on 5-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-6 from downtown. He also stuffed the stat sheet with eight rebounds, two assists and three steals.

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Shooters have been needed on this Sixers roster for quite some time. They made Redick a $23 million man this summer, but it’s unclear whether or not he’ll be in Philadelphia after this season.

The Sixers will need younger options, and Bolden could be one of the players to fill that role.

Bolden hit a few threes Thursday night off of pick-and-pops, which is a perfect fit alongside Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz.

Bolden showed a lot of skills on both ends of the floor in the Utah Summer League. It would’ve been interesting to see where he was selcted in the draft if he stayed another year at UCLA to play with Lonzo Ball. Fellow Bruin T.J. Leaf was selected in the first round.

Next: Markelle Fultz shines in SL loss to Utah

The Las Vegas Summer League starts on Saturday for the Sixers. Hopefully, he’ll be featured in the starting lineup and continue to develop and make exciting plays like he did in Utah.