Nets star Kevin Durant continued to play like an MVP candidate in Monday's win against the Magic, but it was arguably Orlando big man Bol Bol who stole the spotlight in Brooklyn.
Bol -- the son of 1980s- and 90s-era NBA legend Manute Bol -- showed off his diverse skill set while pouring in 24 points on a shiny 10-of-15 shooting, with six rebounds, two assists, two blocks and a steal.
While the final line was impressive, it was how Bol accomplished it that drew oohs and aahs from the crowd at Barclays Center.
The lanky, 7-foot-2 Bol at times looked like a jumbo-sized point guard, carrying the ball up the court and challenging defenders off the dribble. He flashed a silky smooth shooting touch from deep (3-of-6 on 3-pointers), dazzled at the rim with deft layups and floaters, and threw down a couple of thunderous dunks.
For Bol, the performance was a continuation of what has been a breakout season, after several years marked by minimal playing time due to injuries and trips to the G-League.
After the game, Durant -- who put on a show of his own with 41 points on an insane 19-of-24 shooting -- said Bol's development has been fun to watch.
"He's unique," Durant said. "He's tough to deal with. You've seen his confidence growing by the game. He can do pretty much everything on the basketball court. So, he just needs more reps. Last few years, he's been in and out of the lineup -- hurt, G-League stints. But I love what the Magic are doing with him, putting him at the point sometimes, playing him at the five, just moving him around because he's such a versatile player.
"It's great for the league. I think we'll start to see him continue to be more of an impact player as times goes on. He's playing well this year."
Bol's workload has seen a sharp uptick from the roughly 18 minutes per game he averaged in the Magic's first handful of games. Partly that's because the Magic's lineup has been decimated by injuries, but there's little doubting he's earned more minutes through his performance. On Monday, Bol logged a whopping 39 minutes, tied for a game-high.
Whether that sticks when some of the Magic's projected starters return remains to be seen, but it seems likely that Bol has earned his share of minutes regardless of the lineup configuration. And, according to Durant, he should be wowing NBA fans for a long time to come.
If Bol can stay healthy and productive, he could be in the running for the NBA's Most Improved Player Award. On Tuesday morning, he had the sixth-best odds at +3500, according to BetQL.
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