Bol Bol finally gets his moment in the NBA with the Phoenix Suns

It took five seasons, but Bol Bol finally had the kind of signature game with the Phoenix Suns that it looked like may never come for him in the NBA.
Phoenix Suns v Houston Rockets
Phoenix Suns v Houston Rockets / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

You look at the picture above of Bol Bol playing for the Phoenix Suns, and what do you see? Happiness. Euphoria. But then also, relief. Like a weight has been lifted off the shoulders of the 24-year-old. It took until well into his fifth season in the league - but Bol finally has a signature performance for a contender in the league - and we're all the better for it.

We can't say this hasn't been coming for the big man. Despite an ankle injury derailing some momentum that was beginning to build in the lead up to Christmas, Bol in recent weeks has looked like a player who is comfortable in his situation with the Suns. Being mentored by the great Kevin Durant has to help with his confidence.

But few could have predicted what occurred on Friday night, as Bol exploded for 25 points and an even more impressive 14 boards in a loss to the Houston Rockets.

Make no mistake, this was a game the Suns needed to win, and they didn't. After returning from the All-Star break with a deflating loss to those pesky Dallas Mavericks, the Rockets represented a tricky matchup for the Suns. With Bradley Beal still out with a hamstring issue that head coach Frank Vogel says should not keep him out much longer, the Suns needed another player to step up.

Which is exactly what Bol did, despite the hugely impressive Alperen Sengun lining up on the other side for the Rockets. His 25 points equalling Devin Booker's and trailing only Durant's 28, while he knocked down a pair of 3-pointers in helping his side stay in the game To go 11-of-17 from the field was also huge for his team, and Bol was a constant threat offensively.

Although the 14 rebounds sounds impressive - and when it comes to Bol it certainly is - it still masks the fact Bol is not a good defensive player. But the thought process has always been that if he could just grab more boards than the terrible 3.7 he has managed for his career so far given his gigantic frame, that that would justify him seeing the court more than he had in the past.

Bol is also able to alter some shots - especially those further away from the basket - which when combined with grabbing those aforementioned rebounds, no longer makes his the defensive catastrophe he has been for far too long in this league. Bol is immensely popular wherever he goes, and as well as the fans loving what they saw, Durant also chimed in on his teammate;

"Just so happy for him, wish we coulda got the win for him and celebrate with him in the locker room after such a big game. He's had big games before but this one was different, coming off the bench, making shots that way, keeping us in the game with his shot making. Couple of and-ones kept up alive, he was incredible for us. I'm so happy that he's getting more opportunities to play and he's having some success."

Kevin Durant

The next step in his development will be having these kinds of performances, and also being on the winning side come the end of the game as well. This might have been a massive game for Bol, but it wasn't enough to help his team get by a Rockets side that was 24-31 heading into the contest. That is not to take away from Bol's night though, because that will come in time.

Next. 3 Suns who need monster second halves to save their jobs. 3 Suns who need monster second halves to save their jobs. dark

As Durant correctly said after the game, he just needs more run in order to keep getting better. Durant was also right to point out that Bol never tries to do too much, and always gives his all on the boards and the defensive end as well. This was a night where it all worked out for him, and if he continues to have performances like this, coach Vogel will have to play him more minutes.

The 27 he managed the most of any player off the bench, and more even than the 19 minutes new recruit Thaddeus Young saw out there. Coach Vogel was also down to a nine-man rotation, which means at this point Bol has an outside shot to actually see some action once the playoffs begin. Being a matchup nightmare offensively like he was versus the Rockets, is how he makes it happen.