Jordan Bell, The Warriors’ Best Dunker, Is Back For More

Bryan Brandom
(Photo: Getty Images)

Jordan Bell riled up old timers with some impressive aerial violence on an NBA rim a week ago.

Against the the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday night, the Golden State Warriors rookie was back for more. This time he didn’t need to throw a lob to himself off the backboard, because a miss from teammate Nick Young did that part for him.

Two quarters before that, it was Klay Thompson tossing up an alley-oop for the Oregon alum.

The rook has been playing out of his mind in limited action this season, connecting on a ridiculous 89 percent of his shots, and blocking 2.1 attempts and making 2.1 steals per 36 minutes. He fell to the second round on draft night because he has the skill set of a defensive-minded center, but the size of a nimble power forward. So far, it looks like he’ll overcome those limitations.

If not for the sheer incompetence of the Chicago Bulls, the promising Bell wouldn’t even be making NBA fans shake their heads and mutter things like, “How’d they get that guy, too?”

Because on draft night, Chicago shipped Bell to Golden State for just $3.5 million in cash.

Their excuses for executing the trade—that they wanted roster flexibility and to “build equity”—are almost as embarrassing as the trade itself.

“Sometimes you have to take an opportunity where you build equity within the organization for future decisions,” Bulls president of basketball operation John Paxson said of the trade two weeks ago. “Because we didn’t have someone on that board that we were really enamored with and that we thought positionally fit—you know, we just drafted Lauri Markkanen at the power forward and Jordan Bell is a small-ish power forward and we had [Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis].”

After a fight sent him to the hospital, Mirotic is now refusing to occupy the same roster as Portis.

Paxson continuted: “It was a roster spot we knew we could use in a different way, and it was something we thought, ‘Hey, down the road, there will be a time and place where we can use money to our advantage.’ And that’s really what it came down to.”

The Bulls are currently using 13 of 15 possible roster spots. They’ll never live this impossibly dumb trade down.