|Junior||6’11” 250||Center||Duke||DOB: 4/17/98|
|5.3 ppg||4.5 rpg||1.7 bpg||FG: 57.9%||FT: 72.6%|
NBA Comparison: Angel Delgado
Strengths: Inside Scoring, Length, Shot Blocking, Rebounding
Weaknesses: Raw Offensively, Jump Shot, Limited Production, Quickness
Bolden arrived at Duke like many other new Blue Devils having received high rankings and plenty of hype coming out of high school. He was a five star recruit by most services that rank high school players, with multiple outlets having him as a borderline top 10 player in the class. While he did not produce at the college level like you would expect from such a highly rated high school player, he did show glimpses of why he had received so much praise and gave Duke some solid minutes. He can score inside with his back to the basket to a degree but his most effective offensive attributes are his abilities to grab offensive rebounds and find an open spot to be set up by a teammate. There were plenty of lobs thrown his way in three seasons, and Bolden has the vertical ability to go up and grab the ball before finishing at the rim. His length will have teams intrigued with a 7’5″ wingspan, which when coupled with his ability to jump gives him the tools to be able to impact the game around the basket on both ends of the court. Considering the amount of minutes that he played his rebounding numbers are strong after averaging 4.5 in 19.1 minutes per game as a junior. In the modern NBA game with more and more big men being used as shooters, Bolden is a throwback big who can come in the game and focus on grabbing rebounds and defending the rim. He averaged 1 block per game as a sophomore, and 1.7 as a junior with both years being limited in playing time projecting him to be a high level shot blocker as a pro should he be on the floor enough to make an impact.
His offensive game is raw mainly consisting of put backs and lobs as mentioned before, which will be a concern for teams looking to draft centers with future potential in stretching the floor. Bolden did improve his free throw shooting over his three seasons jumping to 72.6% as a junior from 62.3% in his freshman season. He went 0-7 on three point attempts as a junior, and his mid range game is not much stronger after shooting 26.1% on two point jump shots in the same season. If he can become a consistent mid range jump shooter it will go a long way in helping his professional chances, but his high energy and hustle plays can earn him minutes as he attempts to extend his game away from the paint. His production was low by draft prospect standards which is why it was a surprise to some when he elected to keep his name in the draft instead of returning to Duke for one more season. There are a lot of factors that contribute to how much time a player receives on the floor, but there is no doubt that the level of talent on the Duke roster played a role. He has teamed up with interior players such as Zion Williamson, Marvin Bagley III, and Wendell Carter Jr. all of whom were viewed as NBA talents in their seasons at college. With that said it is a still concern when a prospect played 5.9 minutes as a freshman, 12.9 as a sophomore and 19.1 as a junior. If Bolden is to go undrafted this will play a major role, and he will most likely need to show teams on another professional level that he deserves his chance in the league rather than making a roster before next season. There will be some teams and scouts that believe his production can go up with more minutes and usage, but with his current role of defending the rim and scoring on the interior it is possible that he can find his way playing that role at a high level.
These two clips how his ability to effect the game both offensively and defensively:
Bolden is projected to go undrafted by most draft analysts, and it is unlikely that he is picked up in the second round. His ceiling as a professional is a role player coming off of the bench providing an inside scoring spark and a high level of interior defense. The worst case scenario for Bolden is that he is unable to score effectively enough to earn minutes at the NBA level leading him to play the majority of his career in the G League or overseas.