‘I feel I could’ve worked a lot harder’


NBA breakout star Bol Bol is averaging career-high numbers this season with the Orlando Magic, and the forward also feels he could have trained harder in his first three seasons with the Denver Nuggets.

“Yeah, I can say there was a little bit, I feel I could’ve worked a lot harder,” Bol said on his time spent in Denver. “That was just me being young. That’s one of the things I learned, you have to work hard or [stuff’s] not gonna work out for you.”

According to several NBA betting sites, the Magic have the seventh-lowest odds to win the championship. Some sportsbooks are showing greater playoff odds for the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers.

“I think it [was] very good for me,” added the Magic forward. “[My time in Denver] definitely put me through a lot. Even off the court and on the court. But I think everyone goes through their own struggles and what not. Nothing’s ever completely over. Here, people might think, ‘Oh, he’ll never play again.’ Here, I just learned a lot from watching Jokic.

“That was big for me. New space, new opportunity for me. A younger team. It wasn’t like here, where it was kind of hard for me to play because they were already a really good team, an established team, a playoff team. Now, I’m just getting a re-start.”

Magic forward Bol Bol believes he could’ve been a better player in his first three NBA seasons with the Nuggets

Through 39 appearances with the Magic this season, Bol is averaging career highs of 11.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.5 blocks, and 25.7 minutes per game. Plus, he’s shooting a career-best 58.5% from the field and 37.7% beyond the arc. The forward has logged six double-doubles as well.

In the Magic’s 119-116 loss against Denver on Sunday, the forward ended his outing with 17 points, six rebounds, one assist, and steal in 19 minutes off the bench. Let’s just say Nikola Jokic didn’t appreciate Bol dunking on him in the second half.

On his 23rd birthday on Nov. 16, in Orlando’s 126-108 loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the wing recorded a career-high 26 points in 35 minutes played. Along with grabbing 12 boards, Bol finished 12-of-21 (57.1%) shooting from the floor.

In seven games off the bench with Denver during his rookie 2019-20 season, Bol averaged 5.7 points, 2.7 boards, and 12.4 minutes per contest. Not to mention, he shot 50% from the field and 44.4% outside the arc. Through three seasons, he appeared in a combined total of 53 games with the Nuggets.

Additionally, Bol logged 328 minutes with Denver. In only 39 appearances with the Magic, the fourth-year wing has played a total of 1,003 minutes. Perhaps going from playing for a contender to a pretender may have helped him unlock his full potential.

During the offseason, Bol signed a two-year, $2.2 million contract with Orlando. If the Oregon product continues to exceed expectations, Magic G.M. John Hammond will likely receive an extension in the future.

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