Magic’s Bol Bol on breakout season: ‘I’ve just been trying to get better each game’

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Magic wing Bol Bol (quarantine), center Moritz Wagner (suspension) out vs Grizzlies

Orlando Magic center Bol Bol is having a breakout season. During this past offseason, the Oregon product signed a two-year, $4.4 million contract with the Eastern Conference team.

Through 29 appearances, the center is averaging career highs of 12.7 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.8 blocks per game this season. To add to these statistics, he’s shooting 42.6% from 3-point range and a career-best 60.4% from the field.

Per multiple NBA betting sites, Bol Bol has the sixth-best odds to win Most Improved Player of the Year in 2023. Check out which sportsbooks show greater odds for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Tyrese Haliburton.

“Yeah, I had all of this,” the Magic center told Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic on having the size and strength to succeed at the professional level.

Of course, Bol is 7’2″ and weighs 220 lbs. He’s the son of NBA legend Manute Bol, who competed at 7’7″ and played 10 years in the league. Manute passed away in 2010 at the age of 47.

“It’s just I haven’t really been able to show it because I’ve been on the bench for the last couple of years,” added Bol. “Now that they’ve [Magic] given me the opportunity, I’ve just been trying to get better each game and I think it’s been showing.”

Magic center Bol Bol is averaging career-high numbers, has favorable odds to win NBA Most Improved Player of the Year

Indeed, the young star is getting better. That’s an understatement. He’s only 23 years old. Twenty-nine games into the 2022-23 season, the center ranks fifth in blocks (52), seventh in blocks per game, seventh in effective field goal percentage (65%), and fourth in block percentage (6.3%).

In January, the Denver Nuggets traded Bol and P.J. Dozier to the Boston Celtics. Both players were then traded to the Magic in the following month, along with a 2028 second-round draft pick, for a 2023 second-round draft pick.

Bol appeared in only 14 games off the bench with the Nuggets last season. He underwent surgery on his right foot in January, ending his season. Prior to his injury, the center averaged 2.4 points and 1.4 boards per contest with Denver.

Staying healthy is the big question for the big man. While with the Oregon Ducks, he underwent surgery in 2019 to repair a non-displaced fracture in his left foot. At his height, injuries are expected.

If he can get through most of the season without missing too many games, the Magic center has a good shot of winning NBA Most Improved Player of the Year.