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Aussies in NBA: Jonah Bolden is all about that 3 and D life
Jonah Bolden made a huge impression in Summer League once again, with 13 points, 2 steals and 8 rebounds, including 3 offensive boards. The Philadelphia 76ers made a comeback late in the third quarter, but eventually lost to the Boston Celtics, 88-83.
Bolden played 26 minutes as a starter, and made 4 of 12 shots from the field, including 3 of 6 from the three-point line, and 2 of 4 free throws.
One encouraging statistic in this game has got to be the rebounds. Bolden has not proven himself to be a particularly dominant rebounder in the game so far, but managed to lead the Sixers in boards with 8.
The forward has not shot particularly well from outside through Summer League as a whole, but finally found his rhythm in the third quarter, sinking a flurry of 3 pointers.
Defence has been Bolden's calling card throughout Summer League. He played excellent defence on Celtics rookie Jayson Tatum, and the highlight of his game today has to be his steal on Tatum, followed by the nifty transition finish.
Here's a close up.
Bolden commented after the game, that he expected himself to be up to the challenge, when it came to defending Tatum.
Ben Mallis from The Pick and Roll asked Sixers coach Lloyd Pierce on Bolden's defensive performance as a starting five man, especially against Jayson Tatum.
"A lot of the reason for him starting, is just to see him and see if we can get some cross matchup opportunities, his ability to shoot the three with the five man and defending is just something that we wanted to explore.
"He did some of that in the second half, but from a defensive standpoint, we're always trying to find different ways where we can use him, either it's switching out on perimeters, or protecting at the rim.
"We're just looking at him and evaluating and seeing all the different facets of his game that we can explore and get excited about."
The thing that stood out the most with Bolden, according to coach Lloyd Pierce, was defence.
"I thought early in Utah, he had a couple of chasedown blocks. He had a couple of rotation blocks, and then you see him switch out on the perimeter and guard some smaller guys. His length and his lateral movement, that's the biggest surprise. It's nothing we knew about."
"We knew he could shoot threes at his size. We knew he was a good athlete, but the defensive side is exciting. it's really good to see that he can play both the four and the five, because now as a five he can [play as a] stretch five and that's a different position, [a] different skill set in the NBA."
Bolden is making a stronger case for himself with every successive Summer League game, as a potential steal of the draft, and for making this season's Philly roster.
ESPN's Rumor Central has touted the possibility of Bolden returning to Serbia for another season.