Jonah Bolden has been spending this summer training with Jordan Lawley. Jordan Lawley is an NBA Skills Trainer & Global Skills Clinician; his work involves developing and honing the skills of NBA players. Jordan was kind enough to join me for a quick Q&A to give some insight into Bolden’s game.
Kevin F. Love: A video recently surfaced of Jonah Bolden working out, and you were tagged in the tweet of the video. Is this the first time you have trained with Jonah?
Jordan Lawley: No, I have trained Jonah for 2 years now!
KFL: In your time with Bolden, what are some of the strengths you see in his game? How do they translate to the NBA?
JL: He stretches the floor really well, he has a great ability to finish around the rim really well with both finesse and authority, and he can knock down open 3’s
KFL: From a skills standpoint, is Bolden ready to play in the NBA today?
JL: He definitely has the skill set foundation of an NBA player, he’s going to be at a point of refinement now.
KFL: How do you see Jonah fitting alongside fellow countryman Ben Simmons?
JL: I see him fitting in with Ben well. Ben does a great job of being a floor general to get his fellow countryman involved and Jonah does a great job of demanding a presence on the offensive end.
KFL: Bolden has been thought of as a versatile front court player. What position or role do you believe best accommodates his game?
JL: He can be a great burst of energy off the bench for any team. He plays with great tempo and whenever he puts the ball on the floor, he creates for his teammates.
A big thanks to Jordan for taking the time to answer a few questions. I can imagine that it’s a very busy time of the year for Jordan. You can follow him on Twitter @JLawbball.
Just as I was finishing up formatting the Q&A above, the following tweet entered my feed:
Source: Philadelphia, via the NBA, submitted a request for the Letter of Clearance to allow Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Jonah Bolden to join the 76ers for Summer League in Las Vegas.— David Pick (@IAmDPick) July 4, 2018
It was assumed that Jonah Bolden would join the Sixers for Summer League, but the above tweet is comforting. David Pick is plugged into the Euroleague, and I believe this to be a credible report.
UPDATED: Derek Bodner has confirmed Pick’s report, as Derek tweeted, “I can confirm the @IAmDPick report that a Letter of Clearance has been filed for Jonah Bolden. This would allow Bolden to join the #Sixers summer league roster.
One thing of note: if the Sixers are planning to keep Jonah on the team for the regular season, that puts the roster over 15 players once you factor in the Wilson Chandler trade. And the Sixers are rumored to be interested in Kyle O’Quinn. If the Sixers are still hoping to sign O’Quinn — and I would expect them to pursue a backup center even if it isn’t O’Quinn — roster casualties are required, as teams may carry only 15 players. There were rumors about the Sixers and Jerryd Bayless seeking a buyout. Richaun Holmes is on a non-guaranteed contract. Maybe it is neither Bayless nor Holmes to go, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the franchise is anticipating moving or cutting current Sixers.
Maybe the Sixers hope to use Jonah Bolden or Richaun Holmes as the 2nd unit center next season. But I don’t think that’s the plan, and it shouldn’t be. I don’t think you can trust either player to reliably contribute rim protection from the center position night in and night out. Holmes has yet to prove he understands positioning or timing on the defensive end. When it comes to Bolden, I’m not sure he’s even an NBA center just yet. Judging by Jordan Lawley’s answers, Bolden sounds like he’s sort of a tweener right now. He should get some minutes at the 5, but I expect Brett Brown to experiment with Jonah rather than utilize him in a singular role.
And, of course, it’s possible the Sixers plan on sending Jonah back to Europe after Summer League or sending him to another NBA team via trade. Only time will tell.