when The Orlando Magic traded for Bol Bol.a 22-year-old man, in February and Re-signed him as a free agentThere were Questions about what he will bring to the floor. And his character.

Through four games with the Magic, more is clear.

I speech performance The Magic lost to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York Not only was notable because of his stat line – a career-high 19 points to go along with 5 rebounds and 4 blocks in 20 minutes. He has played at least 10 minutes in four consecutive games for the first time since being a second-round pick in 2019.

The consistent playing time has helped make Ball, who is averaging 10 points on 65.4% shooting and 4.8 rebounds as a reserve in Wednesday’s road game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, less of an unknown.

“It’s been very important for me because I feel like every game I’ve improved,” Bol responded when asked about playing multiple games in a row. “I’m seeing something happen every game. The more I play, the slower the game gets.

Through a small sample of four games (64 minutes), Bol provided the Magic with shot blocking, offensive rebounding and a versatile rim-attacking scoring threat — off and on the ball. He has primarily been used as a backup “big” playing alongside Wendell Carter Jr. and Mo Bamba, but has been the only big in some lineups.

“Usage — we talk about the size and length he has, but also the basketball IQ,” coach Jamal Mosley said of Bol. “His ability to consistently make plays, he creates matchup problems.”

Bol had 2.8 blocks per game. The league’s second-best mark among players who played at least two games Entering Tuesday, behind only Milwaukee Bucks big man Brook Lopez (3.5 in two games). Everyone in the top nine averaged at least 21 minutes per game, compared to Ball’s 16.

He uses his length (7 foot 7 wingspan), anticipation and footwork to block shots. Boll is just as prone to blocking a shot outside the arc as he is inside it.

Of his 11 blocks, 4 have been on jumpers (1 midrange and 3 3-pointers). His combination of size, timing and nimble feet make it difficult for perimeter players to clean up their shots on him — even when it looks like he’s out of the game and not in time. Could be

The same thing happens inside the paint.

Bol showed a willingness to do the dirty work for a big man — attacking the offensive glass and running the rim. Of his 40 points, a quarter have come off offensive rebounds and putbacks.

The Magic have put more emphasis on offensive rebounding to take advantage of their size, and Ball has been one of their bright spots in that area so far. Rebounding a team – 9.5% of the magic deficit.

Bol is a threat to score inside the paint outside of offensive rebounding.

He’s driven the rim well in transition and has shown an understanding of angles and timing when roaming the baseline, making himself available for lobs and dump-off passes for easy 2-pointers.

Almost 88% (23 of 26) of Boll’s shots are 2s, which he makes at a 69.6% clip.

The more unique parts of Ball’s game are his ball handling and driving abilities for his size (7-foot-2).

He moves with Eurosteps as a guard, with spinning moves and stuttering steps, making shots that most players don’t because they aren’t big or weak enough.

Bol has been a consistent rim threat, making 88 percent of his shots inside the paint (16 of 18). He has good touch around the rim.

“We tell him to play his game all the time. [and] Be aggressive out there,” Banchero said after Monday’s loss. “That’s what he did. He’s blocking shots. He has great touch around the basket. He is playing with good energy.

As much as Bol has shown in a short period of time, his game and his growth still have a lot to do.

Teammates raved about his 3-point shooting during the offseason and training camp but he didn’t show it (1-on-3 from 3) because of how long it takes to load up.

Knicks big man Mitchell Robinson blocked a shot Monday when he took extra time to set his feet and bring the ball from his side, to his waist and back over his head before shooting.

Boll’s slow shooting mechanics make it easy for defenders to overcome him and contest his open shots, though many won’t have the size and quickness to stop him like Mitchell.

Boll is willing to take pull-up 2s but has yet to make a midrange shot (0 for 5).

Defensively, he needs to do a better job of staying off the ball throughout the possession. There have been many times that the player he was defending broke free for an open shot as Boll tracked them down.

He needs to be more consistent with boxing out and not take himself out of rebounding position by going for blocks. When he’s big alone on the floor it can be a problem because there may not be much rim protection behind him.

“It’s new for me — playing in the rotation,” Boll said. “It’s a new thing and something I’m still getting used to. The more comfortable I get with it, the more the game opens up for me.

There were a lot of questions about Boll when he arrived in Orlando. He was to be sidelined for the season after right foot surgery didn’t last long. One of the main reasons his career derailed was injuries.

Ball, a 5-star recruit in the 2018 class, played nine games his freshman year for Oregon before sitting out the rest of the season. A stress fracture in his left foot that required surgery.. He was expected to be a lottery pick in the 2019 draft before his injury, but was instead taken 44th overall. He averaged just 6.2 minutes (328 total minutes) in 53 regular season games during his three seasons with the Denver Nuggets.

The injury and lack of playing time concerns haven’t bothered the Magic, who have prioritized developing young players as part of their rebuild. The Orlando brass saw Bol’s talent and potential even though he didn’t get many opportunities to show it.

Now he’s getting his chance and he’s making it count.

“It’s very difficult but it’s part of the game – there are injuries, being in teams you don’t play,” Boll said. “It depends on your situation. I’m just happy to be in the right place for me right now.”

Markelle Fultz (fractured left big toe), Gary Harris (recovery from left knee injury), Jonathan Isaac (recovery from left knee injury), Jaylen Suggs (sprained right ankle) and Mo Wagner (sprained right midfoot). ) are out of Wednesday’s game. Cleveland All-Star guard Darius Garland will miss the game with a torn left eye.

Tip-off is at 7pm and can be watched. Bally Sports Florida/Bally Sports+ Or heard on FM 96.9 The Game.

This article was first published. OrlandoSentinel.com. Email me for the best price. khprice@orlandosentinel.com Or follow him on Twitter. @khobi_price.

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