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Aussies in NBA: Jonah Bolden continues to impress in Vegas debut
Jonah Bolden continued his impressive Summer League campaign today in Las Vegas, as his Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Golden State Warriors 95 - 93.
The forward finished with 11 points (5/7 FG, 1/3 3PT), 2 steals, 2 blocks, a team-high 10 rebounds in 23 minutes of play.
Those numbers alone are impressive and show that Bolden has acclimatised to life in NBA, but they fail to illustrate his full impact. The most impressive part of Bolden’s game was the versatile skill set he displayed.
After starting on the bench, Bolden checked in half way through the first quarter and spent the majority of his minutes playing the five. Bolden spoke with The Pick and Roll postgame about the challenges this presents.
“Me being at the five just means there are guys who are physically bigger than me.
"Last year, I played in Serbia and the guys were a lot more physical,” Bolden added. “They were bigger and that helped me when coming in here.”
While Bolden didn’t record any first half blocks, his length troubled Golden State’s inside players and his active hands were on display in other ways.
Despite being undersized at times during the contest, Bolden was able to leverage his speed and length to control the inside.
"I see myself being a longer and quicker [player]," Bolden noted. "Using that to my advantage when bigger centres are guarding me."
Bolden finished with 10 rebounds and his impact was equally felt on both ends. The forward was strong on the defensive glass and used his playmaking skills to turn benign stops in to fast break opportunities for the 76ers.
While Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot missed the above look, Bolden’s aggression and passing panache show that he has the tools to develop into a legitimate playmaking forward.
What about offence?
On the offensive end of the floor, Bolden’s rebounding created a number of second chance looks for the 76ers, with the man himself being the major benefactor from all the hard work.
The 76ers used Bolden as the screener on a number of attacking sets and the big Australia looked extremely comfortable moving without the basketball. Bolden’s speed allowed him to attack holes in the Golden State defence and show off his explosive athleticism.
Lloyd Pierce, Philadelphia's head coach for Summer League, was lavish with praise for Bolden postgame.
“Jonah’s great,” Pierce proclaimed. “He’s an active four/five. We’re trying to use him in a variety of ways.
“Pressuring out on the perimeter, rim protection on penetration. He’s a guy who can step out and knock down three point shots. His effort has been tremendous all Summer League.”
Jonah Bolden continues to show that he belongs at this level. Whether his impressive Summer League campaign results in an immediate NBA contract remains unknown, but after another impressive outing Bolden looks destined to impact the NBA soon enough.
Jonah Bolden full highlights