Mo Bamba may have the highest ceiling of any player in the 2018 NBA Draft. The question is if he can actually reach it. Magic fans will have to wait and see he was worth the No. 6 pick of the night.
Bamba has the look of nobody we’ve ever seen before. However long the longest arms you’ve seen before, his are longer. He stole headlines at the draft combine with his 7’10 wingspan, which is now officially the longest in the NBA. He also stands 7’ tall.
At the University of Texas, Bamba was the anchor of the No. 12 defense in the country. His defensive rebounding rate was the 15th-best of any in college basketball, and his block rate was fifth-best, according to KenPom. He swatted four shots per game with his endless reach and brought down 11 boards. Few protected the rim near Bamba’s level.
It’s his offense that’s a work in progress. Bamba merely finished inside the paint and on lobs in college with few true post moves. He scored 13 points per game on 54 percent shooting. His upside lies in how he develops as a three-point shooter. He wasn’t afraid to pull up from range at Texas, and form didn’t look bad. The results were sub-par though, as he hit just 14-of-51 attempts (27.5 percent).
He’s been working with player development specialist Drew Hanlen, though, and his shot already looks better.
If Bamba can put all aspects of his development together, he could be the Next Big Thing like Kristaps Porzingis and Giannis Antetokounmpo before him. There’s a lot to love about where his game could be, but for right now he won’t be a high impact player from the get-go. He’s a project that’ll take patience.
But it the wait just might be worth it.
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