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Having ‘Big-Upped’ Bol Bol in Comparison to Victor Wembanyama, Shaquille O’Neal Puts the Spotlight on the 7’3 Suns Youngster

Hitesh Nigam
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Having 'Big-Upped' Bol Bol in Comparison to Victor Wembanyama, Shaquille O'Neal Puts the Spotlight on the 7'3 Suns Youngster

In their game against the Portland Trail Blazers yesterday, the Phoenix Suns registered their fourth consecutive victory after a brief period of slump. During the game, Suns’ young center Bol Bol made a Euro-step dunk that prompted the fans at Footprint Center to erupt in excitement. In the second quarter of the game, capitalizing on a Portland turnover, the 24-year-old, coming off the bench, came down the court for a monster slam.

Lakers legend Shaquille O’Neal seemed impressed with the move as he shared the highlight on his Instagram story.

Averaging only 1.9 points per game in the nine games he has played this season, Bol Bol has not been able to establish himself as a regular in the league. However, Shaq has always held him in high regard, or at least his potential in high regard, even mentioning his name with the likes of Victor Wembanyama.

Being an up-and-coming Center in the league, appreciation from perhaps the most dominant big man ever is bound to lift the morale of the youngster. However, Shaq had gone a step ahead last year and compared Bol to perhaps the most hyped talent in the NBA right now. While speaking on ‘NBA on TNT’, the former Lakers’ Center drew parallels between Bol Bol and the San Antonio Spurs rookie, Victor Wembanyama.

Now Shaq has been a fan of Wemby since the Spurs Center joined the league. However, the 2000 MVP claimed that Wemby’s skill set is not unique or unprecedented in the NBA. He declared, “Bol Bol was the first 7ft+ Center who came out with handles and shooting 3s.” He went on to claim that Wemby and the Sudanese-American have a similar style of play. However, Shaq did admit that Wembanyama was much more consistent than Bol Bol.

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Shaq was laughed at by the other panelists for his ‘hot take’. However, he was firm with his take on the two 7’3 stars. Since being drafted in 2019, Bol Bol has not been a regular presence on the court, which was pointed out by Charles Barkley, “he just played three games”.

However, as the clip suggests. Bol Bol certainly has the potential to perform at the highest level. He had 11 points and 9 rebounds in the game against Portland.

Bol Bol has been in and out of the NBA, playing in the G-League, due to his lack of consistency on the NBA hardwood. While injuries are a part of why he hasn’t delivered according to his potential, there’s not enough evidence to indicate that he can be an All-Star level player in the future. Therefore, saying his name in the same breath as Wembanyama might be justly upsetting to some fans. While the Spurs have been objectively terrible this season, Wemby is still leading the team in his rookie year. On the other hand, Bol Bol has been struggling to secure NBA minutes.

Tim Hardaway Sr. once claimed Bol Bol is better than Wembanyama

Even though the league has been sleeping over the 24-year-old’s abilities as an impact player, former Heat guard Tim Hardaway gave his verdict on the Bol vs Wemby debate even before the start of the 2023-24 season. Speaking on ‘The Carton Show’, the veteran claimed,

“I think he’s better than Victor Waba Ma, or whatever his name is. Bol Bol has better physical talent and ready to play in the NBA right now than Victor is.”

However, Hardaway might have changed his opinion now that Wemby has proven himself on the NBA floor.

After getting drafted by the Denver Nuggets, Bol Bol spent most of his time in the shadow of Nikola Jokic. In the seven games that he played, the rookie averaged 5.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 0.9 assists.

Last year, with the Orlando Magic, Bol Bol played 70 games, his most till now in a season, and showcased what he is capable of on both sides of the court, with a range of alley-ops, step-backs, and nasty blocks. With a little more game time, Bol Bol might become an All-Star candidate.

About the author

Hitesh Nigam

Hitesh Nigam

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Hitesh Nigam is an NBA Editor at The SportsRush. As a Post-graduate in Journalism and an enthusiastic sports lover, Nigam combines his skills to chunk out informative and interesting content. He found his love in Basketball as a schoolboy after witnessing the greatness of LBJ. As a State-level Basketball player, Nigam is well aware of the on-field intricacies. He is a hardcore LA Lakers fan and loves the playstyle of their SG, Austin Reaves. Apart from NBA, Nigam loves watching and analyzing NFL matches.

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