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Kevin Durant impressed with Bol Bol: 'He’s been more than I expected'

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It isn't easy to get a stamp of approval from an NBA legend, but Phoenix Suns forward Bol Bol just secured one after helping Phoenix as they fight for positioning in a tough Western Conference playoff race. Kevin Durant raved about his teammate after the Suns' important win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

"He's been more than I expected,” Durant said of Bol, who scored 11 points against the Lakers and just had a 25-point, 14-rebound performance against the Houston Rockets. “His intangibles, his work ethic, his IQ, all the stuff that I didn't really think about when it comes to [Bol], that's the foundation of his game." 

"He's been more than I expected. His intangibles, his work ethic, his IQ, all the stuff that I didn't really think about when it comes to Bol, that's the foundation of his game."

Kevin Durant on Bol Bol, who followed 25 and 14 at Houston with 11 points in #Suns win vs. #Lakers. pic.twitter.com/xoFZvfmZDD

— Duane Rankin (@DuaneRankin) February 26, 2024

Against the Lakers, Bol showcased several skills including putting the ball on the floor and attacking closeouts with ease. With a respectable jumper, Bol forces opposing teams to close out on him since he can hit the occasional three-ball. 

MAKE WAY FOR BOL BOL 😤

7 PTS (3-3 FG) in 6 MIN 🔥 pic.twitter.com/2Zjha9f4MJ

— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) February 25, 2024

The lanky forward, who previously had stints with the Denver Nuggets and Orlando Magic, appears to have finally cracked head coach Frank Vogel’s rotation. Despite just playing sparingly throughout the season, he seems ready to play meaningful minutes moving forward.

An interesting signing this past offseason, Bol is now averaging 15.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game on a 70.6% True Shooting percentage while playing 21.5 minutes over his last three games as the Suns welcomed his length at the forward position.

As previously mentioned, Bol played his best game of the season against Houston, tallying 25 points and 14 rebounds in 28 minutes off the bench -- serving as an integral part of Phoenix’s closing lineup.

Tonight Bol Bol showed why he should be getting minutes, especially playing with Kevin Durant who can help mentor him too. pic.twitter.com/zH1n9WXDkC

— CantGuardBook (@CGBBURNER) February 24, 2024

After scouring the league for wings in an attempt to get bigger at the forward spots prior to the trade deadline, the Suns might have found an answer to their season-long problem with a player who has been on the roster all along.

At 7-foot-3, Bol is a mismatch on offense with skills that include fluidity on dribbles as well as a soft touch around the rim. On defense, his frame allows him to alter shots despite being skinny for his size. Bol has the potential to be a good shot blocker once he improves his feel for the game and bulks up a bit to help with strength-and-conditioning issues. 

Furthermore, Bol offers positional versatility on both offense and defense, which Durant appreciates and finds intriguing, especially come playoff time. This allows Coach Vogel to play bigger, trotting out a big lineup of Durant, Bol and center Jusuf Nurkic to counter the Lakers' big frontline.

When you look at the top teams in the league, they all have size,” Durant said. “[Bol] gives us another dimension.”

With Bol getting more and more comfortable, the Suns can be more versatile on both sides of the court and have an intriguing eight-man playoff rotation.

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