Cavs in-market bubble workouts will be crucial for Jordan Bell to prove his case

Jordan Bell of the Minnesota Timberwolves (#7) defends on-ball. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Jordan Bell of the Minnesota Timberwolves (#7) defends on-ball. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

Jordan Bell could potentially make the Cleveland Cavaliers team next season, but that won’t at all be a sure thing.

It’s tough to say if Jordan Bell at this point will eventually be on the Cleveland Cavaliers squad next season. If Tristan Thompson, who is on an expiring deal, were to be re-signed, of which he and the Cavs both have interest in, per a report from Forbes‘ Evan Dammarell, that likely wouldn’t help Bell’s case.

Thompson being back wouldn’t be the simplest of tasks, though, and if Andre Drummond were to eventually sign a long term extension with Cleveland, that wouldn’t likely help TT’s re-signing case. Either way, though, Bell could possibly fill a third center role if Thompson is back and the Cavs don’t draft a big.

Now, Sports Illustrated‘s Sam Amico did report on Monday how an opposing NBA executive said how he “strongly” believes the Cavs will end up trading their fifth overall pick, along with “several” SI sources. I agree with Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale, though, and would think the Cavaliers should keep that pick, and I’d still imagine they will end up doing so as it’s so early in relation to potential draft outcomes.

In any case, Bell, who was signed during the NBA’s transaction window by the Cavaliers and whose deal is non-guaranteed for next season, could fill in in some minutes at the 5 and perhaps a bit at the 4. That’d be as a defensive big that is somewhat switchable at times on to perimeter players if needed.

But the key selling point for Bell is as a heady team defender and rotator, and even as an undersized 5 when he’s at that spot in his minutes-share, the 6-foot-8, 215-pound Bell has shown good timing as a rotator near the rim. For his career, and most notably with the Golden State Warriors and Minnesota Timberwolves (this now-past season), Bell has had 0.8 blocks in 12.0 minutes per game, and 2.3 blocks per-36 minutes.

Albeit him being on a star-studded Golden State squad during his first two seasons definitely aided that, but Bell did still have 1.5 blocks per-36 minutes when he was given opportunities on Minnesota in 2019-20. Bell has also shown to have quality instincts and feel in relation to getting into opposing passing lanes, as evidenced by him posting a respectable 1.1 steals per-36 for a big in 154 career regular season games.

Anyway, for Bell to have more of a chance to realistically to make the Cavs and/or stick around as a rotational big option, he’ll have to make a good impression.

In that realm, in-market bubble workouts for the Cleveland Cavaliers will be crucial for Bell.

The Cavs and other non-Orlando teams will reportedly conduct in-market bubble workouts, first individually, then in the team/group sense beginning in mid-September.

For Bell, hopefully he’s been able to work plenty individually, and him showing solid on/off-ball screening ability in 5-on-5 work, which reportedly could be an hour in those instances per the league’s agreement with the NBPA, and productive rolling would help him.

Of course, Bell, who is a non-shooter, is not a piece that has stretch big ability, such as Larry Nance Jr. in a bench sense, for instance, and Bell is not much of a post presence.

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That said, establishing some quality chemistry in in-market bubble workouts to come from Sept. 14-Oct. 6 with pieces such as Darius Garland, perhaps via some big-to-big feeds with Nance/Kevin Love could only aid Bell’s case for potentially making the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Bell does have decent passing feel for a big, which is never a negative for a rotational player.

Nonetheless, Bell is again a non-shooter and has attempted just 18 three-point shots thus far in his NBA tenure and made four, and has had 3.8 points in 12.0 minutes per game for his career to this point.

Perhaps him being able to progress as a shooter and maybe show occasional face-up ability in the short roll could help his case for being a third 5/insurance piece for the Wine and Gold, though.

Granted, if Jordan Bell can provide rebounding help, and hold his own defensively and show some rotational shot blocking when given 5-on-5 opportunities and be a meaningful screener, that could be crucial for him aiding his case for making the Cavs going into next season.

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Again, however, it would seem that Bell has an uphill battle to do so, particularly if the Cavs draft a big in the 2020 NBA Draft or bring back TT.