Since entering the NBA as the 44th overall pick in the 2019 draft, Bol has been unable to stay healthy and was injured when the Celtics added him to their roster in 2021-22.
However, in his first year with the Orlando Magic, the Sudan native is starting to shine, averaging 17.3 points, 8.2 rebounds and two blocks per game while shooting 43.8% from deep and 67% from two-point range. Impressively, he’s produced the most when he has come off the Magic’s bench.
“While it’s still early in the season, Bol is a strong candidate for the Most Improved Player Award. Others right now also in that conversation include Utah’s Lauri Markkanen, OKC’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Indiana’s Tyrese Haliburton, Sacramento’s Kevin Huerter, and San Antonio’s Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell,” NBA.com’s Josh Cohen wrote on November 20.
Given the Celtics’ front court struggles to begin season, there may be some regretful discussions happening within the front office, as Bol Bol is finally proving that his early-career hype was well-founded — as long as he can remain healthy, of course.
Aaron Nesmith Has Career Night With Indiana Pacers
Another former Celtics player who seems to be having something of a breakout season is Aaron Nesmith, whom Boston included in the package that saw them acquire Malcolm Brogdon.
On November 19, Nesmith had a career night for the Pacers, scoring 19 points on 50% shooting from the field and 62.5% from deep, helping his team to a 114-113 victory over the Orlando Magic.
Nesmith, 23, struggled for playing time with the Celtics, coming into the league with a raw skill set and finding himself buried behind star wings Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. However, since being given a consistent role by the Pacers, the Vanderbilt product is starting to show flashes of what made him a lottery pick in the first place, averaging 7.4 points, 2.4 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game with 39.7% shooting from the field and 35% shooting from deep.
The Celtics Are Thriving Under Joe Mazzulla
Whenever you trade away a young player, there is always a chance he begins to figure things out on his new team and you wind up looking back at the deal with regret. However, the Celtics should have no reason for concern, as they continue to set the NBA world alight with some exceptional offense and an ever-improving defense.
Currently, the Celtics occupy the first seed in the Eastern Conference, boast the best offensive rating in the league, and have moved up to sixth in Cleaning the Glass’ two-week rolling ratings for their defense.
If Boston can continue to sustain its current level of play and find a way to re-integrate Robert Williams into the rotation once he becomes healthy, they have a great chance of making some serious noise in the postseason and potentially return to the NBA Finals. A lot of credit should be given to interim head coach Joe Mazzulla for the adjustments he’s made to the Celtics’ offense and how his team is currently approaching its games.