A very unique prospect in this draft. At 6-10, he possesses excellent height on the perimeter for a small forward, and the budding skills to take advantage of it.
Bell is tall, but also extremely long. His wingspan (measured at 7-1 in Portsmouth) and reach is absolutely tremendous, reminding somewhat of Tayshaun Prince with his frame. Like Prince, he is also very skinny.
In terms of athleticism, Bell compares favorably with most of the small forwards in this draft not named Hakim Warrick or Joey Graham. His foot-speed is good, he is fairly quick and possesses a nice first step and excellent vertical leap. Those physical attributes combined with his excellent wingspan make him a threat to pull down almost any rebound in sight if he puts his mind to it. This also gives him the potential to become an excellent defender down the road, although he is definitely not there as of right now.
Offensively, while nothing he does at this point is completely polished or consistent, he shows some extremely intriguing skills on the perimeter. His outside is better than his numbers will indicate, and if he continues to work hard he should become a very solid outside threat thanks to his height and range. If left open, Bell is usually money from outside and can hit the three from both a stationary position and off the dribble. His mechanics are good, with a high release and nice elevation on his jump shot to make it even tougher to guard.
Bell has some fairly nice moves on the perimeter to create shots for himself right now, thanks to his intelligence with the ball in his hands and nifty footwork. He likes to use an array of head, shot and body fakes to get his man off balance and then either take him off the dribble all the way to the basket or pull up for the mid-range shot. His ball-handling skills are pretty good for a player of his size, he looks fairly comfortable handling the ball in the open floor and will even bring the ball up for his team sometimes. His crossover dribble is particularly strong.
Despite being the main offensive reference on his team and the player expected to carry most of the scoring load, Bell is not a selfish player and displays pretty good passing skills, especially out of the double team.
In terms of character, he's a soft spoken kid who doesn't look to be capable of hurting a fly. This might be considered either a strength or a weaknesses of his depending on who you ask.
Physically, at only 210 pounds he needs to add some pounds on to his frame, despite being projected to play at the small forward position if he makes it to the pros. He is very skinny and narrow, and this hurts him in many areas of the game, particularly finishing around the basket, defending players his size and rebounding.
Defensively, it is unclear who he will guard, as he certainly does not have the strength to guard NBA power forwards in the paint, but also has questionable footwork on the perimeter that might not hold up against most NBA small forwards.
Being the best player in his conference player on one of the worst teams around, he was always going to see his share of double and sometimes triple teams. While his coach Sidney Green was an outstanding college player at UNLV, he struggled mightily in the X's and O's department and was recently relieved as FAU's head coach. Bell rarely if ever saw many open shots, but he did not always deal very well with this challenge. His shot selection was extremely poor many times this year, especially from outside, which lead to a 3 point percentage that is not really indicative of true shooting ability. He can be turnover prone as well, running into brick walls at times and forcing the issue.
Bell would probably be better served to take advantage of his height and mix up his perimeter game at least a little bit with some inside scoring. This would make him that much more versatile and tough to guard as a mismatch. He displays very little in terms of footwork or post moves inside the paint as of right now, and probably lacks the physical strength to back anyone down and score regardless.
To really show some potential and sincerity about making it at the next level, whether he gets drafted or not, Bell needs to become much more consistent in all facets of the game, particularly the ones he shows potential at. His ball-handling, outside shooting, rebounding and defense all need to become much more polished for him to make it and stick in the league.
Bell (from what I've been told) has a reputation for being somewhat of a soft player, but I think more has been made out of this then what is actually there. He will indeed sometimes half-ass effort plays like boxing out for a rebound or setting a pick for a teammate, but that's pretty normal for a star player at a small school from what I've seen over the past few years. To me he looked OK in this aspect at Portsmouth (playing through a bad injury) and in the tapes I've seen of him. There could be more to this story that I'm not familiar with, though. He's a little bit shy I noticed, both on and off the court, but I'm not really sure if that's really a bad thing as far as the NBA is concerned.
Played in the Atlantic Sun conference, considered a fairly average mid-major conference who was represented extremely well in the NCAA tournament by the University of Central Florida (ranked a #15 seed), who gave UConn quite a fight in the first round. Bell's team only went 10-10 in this conference, missing out on even the conference tournament, which ultimately got his coach fired.
Regardless, Bell was named the conference player of the year, after leading the conference in both points (19.1) and rebounds (9.3).
A strong performance at Portsmouth put Bell on the radar and will most likely give him a chance to continue to impress the scouts at the Chicago pre-draft camp and in private workouts. If he were to get drafted, which is not a foregone conclusion at this point, we'd probably be talking about a mid-late 2nd rounder unless he is magnificent in Chicago.
Bell is an intriguing prospect in this draft because of his physical attributes and budding perimeter skills. He is most likely a project player who could pay dividends for a team patient enough to develop his skills. If the NBA draft was like the NFL draft, where players are projected at positions first and foremost based on their physical characteristics, he would almost certainly get drafted. It's not unfortunately, so he could be the type or player who will need to polish his game in the minor leagues in the States first before trying to make the league again. In Europe, he would almost certainly be played mostly in the post, as player development is the least of their concern when it comes to Americans.
Associated Press All-America Honorable Mention.