The NBA Draft brings new hope and anticipation for teams, especially the team’s locked into a lottery pick. It’s been some time since we’ve had a plethora of big men at the head of the field.
In the 2018 draft, the top ten picks will be filled with players of the bigger variety. Let’s take a look at the new aged power forward and centers that will invade the NBA.
When Mohamed Bamba was asked about his teammates at the University of Texas knowing he was gonna be a one-and-done player, he had this to say. “One thing I’ve got to give credit to my teammates for is that they really let me in,” Bamba said. “I didn’t really get exiled because they knew I wasn’t going to be around for a long time. They really let me and let me be myself, and I’ll forever be happy for that.”
The 6’11” slim kid (230 lbs) from Harlem, New York played 30 games for the Longhorns and would have a major impact. Bamba led the Big 12 with 10.5 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game to go along with 12.9 points on 54.1% shooting from the field.
Bamba’s 7’9″ wingspan allows him to play ways above the rim. He is able to accept lob passes and flush them down if he gets anywhere close to inside. He makes quick decisions when he gets the ball inside which is usually one or two dribbles and then uses his moves.
His jump shot needs plenty of work and he really has no offensive moves to go to outside of a hook shot. He runs the floor extremely well and knows how to move without the ball in the half court.
Bamba can put the ball on the floor but he won’t win any dribble contests. He will definitely need to see the floor better for passing, especially when the double-teams come.
He will need to get much stronger if he expects to battle NBA centers down low. Offensively he’s a work in progress.
Defensively, he was one of the best players in the country. His instinct on shot blocks are top notch, never wasting energy swatting after head fakes and rarely leaving his feet unless warranted.
Bamba stands tall and waits for the offensive player to make a move then anticipates where he needs to be to block the shot. His long reach also helps him on the glass.
He can often get to the ball before his opponent, even when out of position. Its hard for players to put up shots in one-on-one situations due to his height and the fact that he moves his feet so well.
When Texas played the Kansas Jayhawks towards the middle of the season, Bamba showed off his full repertoire.
He played most of the game against the Jayhawks’ center Udoka Azubuike who is a load at 7’0″, 280 and dominated the matchup. Bamba finished the game with 22 points, 15 rebounds and eight blocked shots.
His long arms made every shot a bad angle for the opponent, often sending them back with authority. He had a myriad of dunks and put-backs making the Kansas players look very tiny compared to him even though they had physical size advantages. Bamba got to his spots with ease and had a number of put-backs.
Bamba will be a bit of a project in his early years in the NBA but he should be ready on the defensive end right away.
After seeing him in a private workout, Phoenix Suns general manager Ryan McDonough compared him to Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert. ” At age 20 years old, he’s ahead of where Rudy was,” McDonough told the Associated Press. “I think Mo probably is a little more mobile at the same age and Rudy is probably stronger and more physically developed at the same age.”