Bol Bol’s 2021-22 season with the Orlando Magic ended before it started.
Time will tell if the same is said about his tenure with the organization.
Bol, who the Magic acquired ahead of the Feb. 10 trade deadline, was officially ruled out for the season in mid-March after right foot surgery on Jan. 18 while with the Denver Nuggets.
The Nuggets traded Bol to the Bostons Celtics, in a three-team deal that included the San Antonio Spurs, one day after surgery. Denver originally tried trading Bol to the Detroit Pistons on Jan. 9, but the transaction was voided four days later over an issue with Bol’s physical.
Bol, a 5-star recruit in the 2018 class, played nine games for Oregon his freshman year before missing the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his left foot that required surgery. He was expected to be a lottery pick in the 2019 draft before the injury, but he was taken 44th.
The injury concerns didn’t faze the Magic, who were in the first full season of their rebuild and continue to prioritize developing younger players.
Orlando’s brass see Bol’s talent and potential even though he hasn’t had many opportunities to show it.
Bol, 7-foot-2 with a 7-8 wingspan, fits the archetype the Magic prefer: Size for the position, lanky with the raw talent that could potentially turn into a versatile skillset on both ends of the floor.
“Bol is a very talented young player,” Magic president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman said to the Orlando Sentinel after Orlando acquired Bol. “He hasn’t been able to get himself on the right footing at this early stage of his career, but we’re hoping he can do that with us.”
That opportunity didn’t come in 2021-22, but that doesn’t mean it won’t.
Bol will be eligible for restricted free agency if the Magic tender the $2.7 million qualifying offer this offseason.
The 22-year-old will be able to negotiate deals with other teams, but Orlando would have the right to match any offer.
Since Bol was drafted, he hasn’t put anything substantial on film so conclusions are difficult to draw.
He averaged 2.7 points (47.8% shooting and 37.8% on 3-pointers) and 1.2 rebounds in 6.2 minutes (328 total minutes) in 53 regular-season games (all with the Nuggets), including 2.4 points and 1.4 rebounds in 5.8 minutes in 14 games this past season.
The Magic, however, have a good gauge of where Bol is physically.
He was rehabilitating in Orlando and progressed to on-court work before the season ended.
“Bol’s working very hard,” Weltman said. “He’s working diligently. He’s working every day. He continues to ramp up.
“He’s just doing individual work right now. We’re going to be careful with him as we are with everyone to make sure he doesn’t skip steps in his rehabilitation.”
This article first appeared on OrlandoSentinel.com. Email Khobi Price at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter at @khobi_price.