Golden State Warriors big man Jordan Bell won a championship during his first season in the league, playing an important role for his team.
The former Oregon Ducks star averaged 2.5 blocks per 36 minutes, which led all rookies (minimum: 125 minutes) last year. Bell had the best effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage among rookies that had at least 35 games played. He was also one of the most efficient players in the NBA when cutting to the basket, per Synergy Sports.
Bell spoke with HoopsHype after defeating the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on October 28.
I loved the hustle you had on the offensive rebound attempts in the first half against the Nets.
JB: That was me doing what I do best – whatever the team needs. Rebounds, defense, whatever it is that they need and I’ll do it.
You haven’t played a ton of minutes so far this season but you still have a role on this team. How have you maximized your opportunities?
JB: I’ve been feeling good. I’m playing hard and feeling comfortable with myself. When you play hard, good things happen. I need to focus on that. The scoring will take care of itself, I’m not too worried about that right now.
What’s the biggest difference between year one and year two in the NBA?
JB: The game is slower. It feels a lot slower, actually. They say that the pace has picked up a lot but there are so many fouls, which slows it down. It might be fast when we’re playing but there is so much stoppage because of the new rules. But also now that I’m not a rookie, it just feels slower because I’m not overthinking it. I can see things happen before they unfold now. I’m getting better and better about that.
Where is your personal confidence now compared to where it was when you led Oregon to the Final Four back in 2017.
JB: I was actually more confident in college. It’s a different game. I was there for three years. I’m not going to say I was the best in college but I understood how the game was played. I knew what our team needed. Playing here was a complete reset. I had a different role. People play different positions. Almost all of the players can shoot. It’s a lot different.
What has been the bigger adjustment for you, playing team defense in the NBA or individual defense?
JB: It’s definitely been individual defense. I think I’ve gotten way better at individual defense because it’s something you want to do. I actually really like defending people. I have been keeping track of how many people have scored on me this year. My brother and I re-watch each game and write down each person that has scored on me for a one-on-one possession. I take pride in how few it has been. I know I can’t let it happen. I want to make sure that nobody scores on me. And on team defense, I just want to make sure I have the best communication. We practice that every day and let each other know what we need to do on switches and screens. I want to make sure that I’m the hardest working dude on the floor every day.
I know you quit eating junk food. What’s been the hardest thing to give up?
JB: Yeah, I’m eating a lot better. I have a personal chef. I haven’t had fast food in I don’t know how long. But I miss donuts the most. I ate that like every day. My body took a while to get used to it.
I’ve also heard you bought your mom a car this offseason, surprising her by driving up with it and she just assumed it was for you. How did that feel to give back to someone like that who has always supported you?
JB: It was a beautiful moment. As a young black kid in the area that I grew up in, everyone wants to grow up and play in the NFL or the NBA. We want to be able to do that to help our families. My dream was to take care of her. It was such a dope feeling.
What’s been her biggest reaction and what she has been most proud of seeing you in basketball? Was it seeing you win a championship or get drafted or is it something off the court?
JB: My mom doesn’t care about basketball as much as she cares about me. She would be proud of me if I wasn’t playing as long as I was a good person and a good human being.
I saw you look up to check the score of the Los Angeles Rams game and smile a little bit. I know you’re from the area. Are you a fan?
JB: Yeah, they’re stupid good! I don’t know too many players personally in the NFL except for like Jayon Brown on the Titans and JuJu Smith-Schuster on the Steelers. JuJu went to my high school but he was a year younger. We actually ran track together. But it’s good to see the home team succeed in Los Angeles.