Why should you care about Magnum Rolle? Besides the fact that he was blessed with a wonderful name, I mean.
For starters, he was the Maine Red Claws’ first draft pick (third overall), so he’ll play for the Celtics’ D-League affiliate. The Lousiana Tech product is 6’11″ tall and 225 pounds, so he’s got good size, and he adds to that a wingspan and athleticism that make him a prospect with solid upside. Rolle plays center and power forward, so if (when?) the O’Neal brothers see any time on the injured list (injuries? for those guys? pshhh) Rolle could be a call-up option.
Rolle was called “the steal of the D-League draft” by NBA Fanhouse’s Matt Moore, who wrote that Rolle “should be considered one of the top call-up prospects with an excellent combination of size, range, and athleticism.” DraftExpress wrote the following sentence about Rolle: “He runs the floor like a guard, displays good lateral quickness, and is extremely quick off the floor.”
Sounds good so far, right? But there’s a reason big men end up in the D-League — they have serious problems. If a player is 6’11″ and worth a damn, he’ll be in the NBA. Rolle was drafted in the second round of this year’s draft by the Indiana Pacers, and couldn’t make a team that Solomon Jones did. He couldn’t make a team that plays Josh McRoberts, so far, 24 minutes per game. Once in a while, a D-League big man prospect will get called up and make some kind of minimal impact – Ian Mahinmi comes to mind, even though he hasn’t really made any impact whatsoever. But if you’re looking for a quality big, one who could play minutes on a contender, the D-League normally isn’t the place to find one. D-League big men, as a rule, have issues.
Does that mean Rolle has zero potential? No, not at all. Any time you can find a 6’11″ player with long arms and bouncy legs, he has a chance to be good. But Rolle, who averaged 13.9 points per game last season for Louisiana Tech, needs to add weight to his toothpick frame and skill to his raw game. Once he does, maybe he’ll prove Fanhouse’s Moore right:
“Rolle has as many weaknesses as any D-League draft prospect, but is also a stellar prospect and more than that is an actual viable big man,” Moore wrote. “Think of it! A viable! NBA D-League! Big! Those never exist!”
For the rest of Maine’s draft choices, click here.