MINNEAPOLIS -- Jordan Bell spent his first two seasons playing for the NBA’s gold standard in Golden State. There, he played a role on a Warriors team that advanced to consecutive NBA Finals, winning an NBA title in his rookie campaign.
On Tuesday, July 23, he was introduced as a new player in Minnesota -- a franchise with no such history of success. He’s hoping to change that.
Bell spent the past two seasons learning the Warrior way of doing things. How to survive a long season, how to navigate ups and downs, how to be at your best when it matters most.
He saw the way the game’s best players prepare to perform. He was at practice every day as Draymond Green screamed out everyone’s defensive assignments while also giving 100 percent effort. It was a recipe for success that helped produce the NBA’s most recent dominant dynasty.
Now Bell hopes to bring some of those ingredients to Minnesota.
“Just the main thing here is to bring everything I’ve learned from Golden State -- how to win, how to make playoff pushes, things I learned from Draymond, all the great players over there, try to bring them here, instill them here and bring a momentum change, try to make something good happen,” Bell said. “I think me just bringing the knowledge that I have as far as how to win, not just playing basketball, but how to win, how to get through things, make certain adjustments, things like that. … Just bringing that knowledge that I have and hopefully doing something special here this year.”
If the Wolves are to do something “special” in the 2019-20 campaign -- given current expectations, even making the playoffs would likely qualify as such -- Bell will likely have a role in it. That’ll be a change from his time in Golden State. While the former second-round pick added value to the Warriors, he averaged 12 minutes a game last season, a number that shrunk to seven in the playoffs.
Those numbers could change in Minnesota.
“The main reason I came here is opportunity,” Bell said.
Specifically, the opportunity to show what he can do. Not only in playing time, but in ability. Bell played mostly center in Golden State, but he will also play some power forward in Minnesota.
While in Las Vegas at Summer League, Bell and Saunders were talking about Bell’s role, “and I was like there's probably not going to be too many games I have like 20 points, but I'm OK having seven assists and getting KAT (Karl-Anthony Towns) the ball.”
Bell, a lifelong fan of retired forward Lamar Odom, has long prided himself on his ball handling and his playmaking abilities. The Wolves sound like they want him to do those things this season.
“I'm very excited to work with KAT, just because I know how good of a player he is,” Bell said. “I think me being the playmaker I am, I think that's going to expand our offense even more, expand his game even more."
Bell, too, plans to expand his game. In Golden State, his job was to get out of the way and let the guys like Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant and Steph Curry do their thing.
“So I think now it's more of just being able to playing basketball,” Bell said. “You're looking at the rim. You're actually catching the ball and being aggressive, rather than looking to pass. So I'm very excited for everything that's going to happen this year."
Gersson Rosas, the Timberwolves' president of basketball operations, said Bell will even be asked to push the ball forward after grabbing defensive rebounds. The Wolves plan on maximizing his skill set.
Still, much as he did in Oakland, Bell plans on aiding the team’s star players -- Towns and Andrew Wiggins.
If those guys are Minnesota’s Curry and Thompson, maybe Bell can be the Wolves’ Green? Bell is quick to note there can’t be another Draymond Green -- his skill set is so specific and his basketball IQ is off the charts. Still, he can try to bring some of the things he learned from Green in recent seasons.
“So I think if I have that same mentality like Draymond,” Bell said, “just make everybody around me better, bring that intensity every single day, be the vocal guy every single day, every play talking, being a dog on the floor every single time, being the toughest (guy) on the floor. I think that's going to help me be very successful.”