Marques Bolden Scouting Report

CONTEXT

  • Marques Bolden was the 16th-ranked prospect in the 2016 high school class[1] but logged only 157 minutes in his first year at Duke, missing the first month due to injury and then struggling to make a positive impact once he did get on the court.
    • He averaged just 6.5 minutes per game as a freshman and logged more than seven minutes in just one of his last 12 appearances in the season.
  • The 19-year-old[2] is off to a much better start as a sophomore, having already logged 151 minutes in his first 12 appearances over the first month-and-a-half.
  • The six-foot-11 center is a bruising old school type who is only effective near the basket on both ends, yet to develop perimeter skills or to show enough nimbleness to defend above the foul line.
  • Though the pro game is going away from players with his profile, dominant forces near the goal can still have a small role in the backend of the rotation. But they have to be dominant. Bolden is not there yet but players with his combination of size and strength at his age are the ones with a shot of developing into such types down the line.

SIZE & STRENGTH

  • Bolden uses the strength in his 245-pound frame to get a deep seal in the low post consistently and relies on power moves to back his way into close-range looks.
  • 50% of his live ball attempts have been at the basket this season and he’s converted them at a 70% clip[3].
    • Disappointingly, he’s only averaging 3.7 foul shots per 40 minutes[4], though.
  • Bolden is not a high energy big but can set inside position in the offensive glass and has a seven-foot-six wingspan[5] to rebound outside of his area – collecting 13.5% of Duke’s misses when he’s been on the floor this season.
    • He’s shown a decent second jump but doesn’t have much lift going back up strong in a crowd – converting his seven putback attempts at only a 60% clip.
  • Bolden can hold his ground in the post and is a tough presence to finish around when he is well set, given his decent quickness elevating off two feet out of a standstill position and his nine-foot-four standing reach.
    • He’s averaged 3.2 blocks per 40 minutes this season.
    • Thanks to his effectiveness close to the basket, Bolden is second on the team in defensive rating among rotation players[6].
  • Bolden is attentive to his boxout responsibilities but doesn’t pursue the ball with a lot of intensity often – collecting just 16.6% of opponents’ misses when he’s been on the floor.

SKILL LEVEL & MOBILITY

  • He’s yet to show a particularly diverse set of post moves in terms of working his man out of position patiently with shot fakes, head fakes and spins. His footwork isn’t all that fluid either.
  • His touch on turnaround hooks is iffy, as he’s converted his 20 shots away from the rim at a 30% clip.
    • He’s also missed six of his 14 foul shots this season.
  • Bolden is not a very good option as pick-and-roll finisher. He is a good screener who looks to draw contact but doesn’t roll hard to the basket often and can’t play above the rim as a target for lobs going up in traffic, though it’s fair to point out Duke doesn’t space the floor very well, rarely stretching Marvin Bagley, III or Javin DeLaurier out to the three-point line when one of the two is out there with him.
    • Bolden is more effective setting ball-screens to roll into post position.
  • He is yet to show much of anything in terms of shooting range or being able to facilitate offense from the elbows.
  • Given the specificity of how he can make a positive impact, Bolden has the second worst offensive rating on the team among rotation players.
  • Bolden isn’t all that quick coming off the weak-side in help-defense to challenge shots at the basket.
    • Often a step too late and prone to biting on shot fakes, Bolden is averaging five personal fouls per 40 minutes.
  • He hasn’t yet developed feel for making preventive rotations and keeping dribble drivers from getting to the basket in the first place.
  • Given his frame and iffy mobility, Bolden is not suited for guarding pick-and-rolls above the foul line, nor does he project as an asset to pick up smaller players on switches.
  • He struggles to closeout to the perimeter, so matching up with stretch big men figures to be a problem as well.

[1] According to ESPN.com

[2] DOB: 4/17/1998

[3] According to hoop-math

[4] According to sports-reference

[5] According to Draft Express

[6] According to sports-reference

READ MORE: Wendell Carter, Jr. | Marvin Bagley, III

EDITOR’S NOTE: Rafael Uehara is the managing editor of ‘Basketball Scouting’. More of his work can be found here or at RealGM, where he is a regular contributor. He can be followed on twitter as @rafael_uehara

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