A former stretch big man of the Philadelphia 76ers has joined the Phoenix Suns on a 10-day contract in an attempt to keep his NBA career alive.
During his rookie year last season, Jonah Bolden showed promise as a stretch big on the Philadelphia 76ers. However, he went from being a part of the rotation last season to being waived after the trade deadline this year. Luckily for him, another NBA franchise has given him a chance to prove he’s an NBA player.
Outside of Deandre Ayton, Aron Baynes and former 76ers power forward Dario Saric, the depth chart at either big man spot is pretty uncertain for the Suns. He should be able to show if he’s really a player ready to play in the NBA.
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He’s already played one game with the Suns and finished with six points, seven rebounds, one steal, two blocks, and four fouls, while converting 2-6 field goals. It wasn’t a bad showing, but it did reveal his one major flaw.
The biggest knock against Bolden isn’t his offense or his shot-blocking ability, but rather his defensive I.Q. For his career, he’s averaged 2.2 fouls in 13.9 minutes per game, which translates to 5.7 fouls per 36 minutes. To be honest, it shows a major lack of maturity and discipline on the defensive end.
It was his poor defensive decisions that prevented him from being a part of Sixers rotation in the playoffs last year despite the need for a defensive-minded big man to come off the bench. The additions of Al Horford and Kyle O’Quinn this offseason made it virtually impossible for Bolden to get minutes this year.
Then came Norvel Pelle who began the season on a two-way contract and has proven to be a more capable defender than Bolden. As a result of all these new players who are better than him, Bolden was stuck getting playing time in the G-League with the Delaware Blue Coats, Philly’s G-League affiliate. The Sixers waived Bolden to make room to make room to sign Pelle to a regular contract because Pelle was a more capable backup at this point.
Bolden has gotten a second chance with the Suns. Hopefully, for his sake, he can make more of his time in Phoenix than he did when he was on the Philadelphia 76ers. If he doesn’t, then the Suns might be the last NBA team he plays for.