By B. Doody
When Mohamed Bamba steps on the court, the first thing you notice is his size. He is 7’1″ with arms that seem to stretch across the paint. At the NBA Combine, Bamba measured in with an insane 7’10” wingspan and 9’6″ standing reach. Both of the previously mentioned measurements are combine records, passing the athletic freak known as Rudy Gobert. During Bamba’s freshman campaign at Texas, he was a defensive terror. Averaging 3.7 BPG to go along with 10.5 RPG, Bamba was named to the BIG 12 Defensive First Team. His rim protection and rebounding are traits any NBA team can use. Offensively, Bamba will be a good pick and roll big from day one. He has the ability and coordination to finish lobs or catch the ball and finish layups around the rim. Against Kansas last year, Bamba put it all together by scoring 22 points, grabbing 15 rebounds and blocking 8 shots. The potential for Bamba is off the charts if he puts the work in.
At this point in his career, the long armed center still relies on ball handlers to get him good looks. Bamba has a solid looking shot which has potential based on his 68% FT shooting at Texas, but NBA defenses will let him take jumpers. Bamba’s post moves are rudimentary and will need refined. His left hand is limited to just finishing layups. The former New York high school standout only weights 225 pounds right now and needs to gain 20-25 pounds to be able to bang around in the NBA. His skinny frame is a concern because bigger interior players will be able to move him on post ups and when he’s boxing out.
Bamba is a lock to be a top ten pick. The earliest I could see him going is fourth to the Grizzlies; if they plan on moving Marc Gasol and rebuilding. Bamba has the potential to be a defensive anchor, like the before mentioned Gobert or Clint Capela. The Mavericks have the fifth pick and could use a center since Nerlens Noel will most likely not be resigned. Dennis Smith Jr. would have a great pick and roll guy to work with. Bamba would also be a great rim protector to play beside Dirk Nowitzki as he finishes out his career. The Orlando Magic could look for a delivery big since it’s doubtful that Bismack Biyombo and Nicola Vucevic are the long term solutions in the middle. If the Magic resign Aaron Gordon, they could pair him with Bamba for a high flying energetic front court. I really can’t see Bamba ending up falling lower than the 6th spot, but places like Chicago and New York could really use a defensive minded center. Whichever team chooses Bamba will need a staff that realizes he is a project that will take 2-3 years to develop. If he works hard and is put in the right situation, the league will be staying away from the paint he patrols.