Philadelphia 76ers: Jordan Bell is the right player at the wrong time

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Once dubbed a Dennis Rodman-esque defender by Brett Brown, Jordan Bell is the right player at the wrong time for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Boy, is there an unluckier player in the NBA than Jordan Bell?

After starting out his career with the Golden State Warriors, drafted 38th overall by the Chicago Bulls before having his rights purchased for $3.5 million, Bell has been traded four times over the last year; going from Golden State to Minnesota, to Houston, to Memphis in a little over six months.

It seems like every team has a cursory interest in Bell, but not enough to keep incorporating him into their long-term plans.

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But, you may ask, what does this have to do with the Philadelphia 76ers? Well, there once was a time when Bell was valued very highly in the Sixers organization, or at the very least in the eyes of their head coach.

When asked about Bell’s abilities following a pre-draft workout, Brett Brown compared the ex-Oregon Ducks‘ defensive versatility to that NBA Hall-of-Famer Dennis Rodman. And while comparing an eventual second-round pick to arguably the most versatile defender of the last 30 years is a tad rich for my blood, it kind of tracked.

Over his 105 game career in Eugene, Bell averaged 7.8 points, 2.2 blocks, 1.1 steals, and 6.8 rebounds a game as the Ducks’ do-it-all frontcourt performer. Numerically speaking, Bell’s college stats aren’t too far removed from Rodman’s early NBA numbers, an encouraging development when you consider the latter didn’t make his NBA debut until he was 25.

And for his part, Bell made a pretty compelling case for why he’d be a solid fit on the roster, telling NBA Sports Philadelphia,

"“I’m the glue guy on the team, the person who does whatever needs to be done on the floor during that game. I can change it up from game to game. I can go out for 20, I can have somebody have their season low, 16 rebounds, 20 rebounds, whatever it is I need to do — eight blocks.”"

That is not a guy lacking in confidence.

So despite being pretty close to the end of the regular season with a rotation constantly in-flux, bringing in Bell to help ease Embiid’s absence has to be an option, right?

Probably not.

While one could argue that Bell would be a solid addition to the roster – for the record, I’d 100 percent endorse his signing – it’s almost impossible to imagine Elton Brand pulling the trigger to sign the 25-year-old defensive stopper and make whatever corresponding move is needed to make a deal happen.

Why would he? The 76ers already have two All-Star centers, a plucky young blocker in Norvel Pelle, and a veteran stopper in Kyle O’Quinn. When the team is rolling at full strength and Al Horford is coming off the bench, the team may opt to only use two centers down the stretch, let alone when the rotation shrinks for the playoffs.

Bell is capable of playing power forward, Rodman’s position for the back half of his career, but after only hitting four of his 18 3 point attempts as a pro, it seems unlikely that the Sixers would opt to go that route with players like Mike Scott on the roster.

Next. Identifying Shake Milton’s long-term role. dark

Now to be fair, if Bell is somehow still available this summer, then yeah, signing the 2018 NBA Champion to a vet-minimum deal as a backup center/defensive specialist makes a ton of sense, especially if Horford is traded as some (all) suggest. Bell could also make sense if the Sixers feel that their frontcourt defense could use some punching up, especially if the team struggles mightily to slow down Anthony Davis at Staples on March 2nd. But for now, the idea of freeing up a roster spot for Jordan Bell seems unlikely, if now borderline impossible to fathom.