Philadelphia 76ers: Jonah Bolden looked great in showcase vs Charlotte

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

After failing to log a single minute in November, ex-UCLA forward Jonah Bolden looked great for the Philadelphia 76ers in the first half vs. the Charlotte Hornets.

While there’s a lot of negatives that could be dissected from the Philadelphia 76ers one-point overtime victory over the Charlotte Hornets, in a game that was without a doubt too close for comfort, sometimes it’s nice to look for positives in a gloomy situation.

And fortunately for Philly fans, there were at least a few positives to takeaways from an otherwise forgettable night in South Philly.

From Joel Embiid‘s almost routine 40 point performance to Dario Saric hitting four 3-pointers in 40 minutes for a season-high 18 points, the Sixers big men showed out well against the lowly combination of Marvin Williams, Nicolas Batum, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, holding the forward trio to 20 points on 15 shots from the field.

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But of the team’s positive performers, no one had a more surprising outing than Jonah Bolden.

For those who may be unfamiliar with Bolden, which is understandable, here’s a quick primer to get you up to speed: Jonah Bolden is an Australian stretch four who played his college ball at UCLA before playing overseas in 2016. He was then drafted by then-GM Bryan Colangelo 35 picks after Markelle Fultz in the 2017 NBA Draft and stashed abroad for some more maturation after a promising Summer League showing. From there, Bolden played a season in Turkey, before rejoining the Sixers this summer and ultimately earning a spot on the team once Richaun Holmes headed west to Phoenix.

All caught up? Good.

So, anyway, after failing to log a single minute in the month of November, Bolden’s number was called relatively early in the evening by Brett Brown, and he rewarded the coach with five first-half points, including a clutch 3-pointer to do with four rebounds and four fouls (ouch) over 11 minutes of action.

While this uptick in minutes, almost doubling his total for the entire season in one evening, may have been a result of Brown expanding his bench in lieu of a back-to-back, especially given Mike Muscala‘s current absence due to a broken nose, it’s always nice to see a rookie player put on a solid show in a surprise appearance.

Who knows, maybe this could be the start of a trend for the 22-year-old from Melbourne?

Standing 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, Bolden is a long, athletic forward who can knock down shots from outside, and potentially even play some five in a small ball, Ben Simmons-plus shooters lineup. With an eye for the ball, as highlighted by his impressive collection of blocks and steals over his past two Summer League showings, the 76ers may have found yet another diamond in the rough in the second round, even in a draft that will for all intents and purposes be considered a boom-or-bust based almost solely on Fultz’s development.

So, with the team now set to face off against the Memphis Grizzlies and their own formidable forward tandem of Kyle Anderson and Jaren Jackson Jr. it’ll be incredibly telling to see if Jonah Bolden can once again earn some first-half minutes, and establish himself as a solid rotational player worthy of consistent minutes like his fellow rookie Landry Shamet.

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In the current NBA, a 3-and-D stretch four with an eye for the ball is incredibly valuable, and for the low, low price of a second round pick, it looks like the Philadelphia 76ers may have secured themselves a good one for years to come on a budget-friendly contract.