Golden State Warriors Coach Don Nelson, long a proponent of size and defense on his teams, took a giant step on both fronts with the acquisition of 7-foot-7 Manute Bol from the Washington Bullets.
The Warriors, who last season acquired 7-4 Ralph Sampson, now have created the tallest pairing of centers in NBA history. Bol is the tallest man in the league while Sampson isn't far behind."He is the most incredible shot-blocker I've ever seen - the best at doing that - the best at blocking shots, and I played with Bill Russell and against Wilt Chamberlain and I've coached against Mark Eaton," Nelson said. "And I'd still say that Manute is by far and away the best shotblocker I've ever seen."
The trade Wednesday saw the Warriors send backup center Dave Feitl and a 1989 second-round draft choice to the Bullets for Bol.
"Now these are real twin towers," Nelson exclaimed, recalling the name given to the duo of Sampson and 7-foot Akeem Olajuwon in Houston before Sampson joined the Warriors last December.
In three seasons with the Bullets after only one year of college ball, Bol averaged 3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.79 blocked shots per game. He played 77 games this season, averaging 2.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocked shots as a reserve.
Bol, a native of Sudan, came into the league as a skinny player with few skills but great leaping ability, excellent timing and surprising grace that belied his appearance.
Nelson said he wasn't sure yet how Bol would fit in with Sampson, who missed the final weeks of the season after undergoing knee surgery March 10.
Bol was a second-round pick by the Bullets in 1985 - the 31st pick overall. He played one season at the University of Bridgeport, an NCAA Division II school, averaging 22.5 points, 13.5 rebounds and 7 blocked shots in 31 games.
He played for the Rhode Island Gulls of the United States Basketball League in the summer of 1985.
Feitl, a two-year veteran, was a second-round pick of the Houston Rockets in 1986. He played at Texas-El Paso, where he ranked second on the school's all-time scoring list behind former NBA star Nate Archibald.
Feitl averaged 3.7 points in a reserve role with Houston during his rookie season. He was traded last November, along with a first-round draft choice, to the Warriors in exchange for forward Purvis Short.
In 70 games with Golden State last year, Feitl averaged 6.5 points and 4.8 rebounds while playing about 16 minutes per game.