Mohamed Bamba – Texas
CPP Big Board Ranking: #4 Overall (#3 C)
Weight: 225 lbs
Age/Birthday: 20 (5/12/98)
Hometown: New York, NY
High School: Westtown School
(Brett Siegel – 5/13/18)
After deciding to go to Texas and play for Shaka Smart, Mo Bamba became one of the best defensive players not only in the Big-12, but in the entire country. He was named to the All Big-12 Second Team, the Big-12 All-Defensive Team, and the Big-12 All-Newcomer Team. Bamba was one of the most electrifying players to watch this past season, giving his team a chance to win any game against any opponent. One of Texas’ biggest wins of the season and for Bamba came at home against the #8 Texas Tech Red Raiders on , where Bamba had 15 points, 11 rebounds, and 5 blocks. Bamba recorded 19 games this season with double-digit rebounds and 19 games with 4+ blocks. Mo Bamba’s measurements are what set him apart from other centers in this draft. DeAndre Ayton is the only other 7-footer in this draft class with a wingspan close to Bamba’s. Mainly known for his defensive skill set, Bamba has been working in the offseason, before the NBA Draft Combine, on his shooting techniques and offensive skills. Below is a video clip of his offseason workouts two weeks ago in Los Angeles via DraftExpress.
Mo Bamba is one of my favorite NBA Draft prospects this year because of his versatility and offensive potential. With the right help and mechanics, Mo Bamba can become a 7-footer who not only is one of the best defensive players, but a dominant offensive weapon. Bamba will be a lottery pick, projected Top-5 pick, in this year’s NBA Draft and whichever team grabs him, will not be dissapointed.
When talking about Mo Bamba, it is very hard to not talk about his defense. His footwork for a big man is above average and he was arguably the best shot-blocker in college hoops this past year. From rebounding to bocking shots, Mo Bamba is a very physical basketball player and aggressive on the defensive end of the court. He also runs the court really well for a guy his size. His ability to stretch the court and maintain his interior position is something a lot of prospects do not have coming into the NBA. Quickness is not a need for centers in today’s NBA, but definitely gives Bamba “bonus points,” as well as his lateral quickness. Mo Bamba was not the best at contesting shots on the perimeter, but in the NBA, he will not need to be out at the three-point line much. Both on the offensive and defensive end of the court, Mohamed Bamba is excellent in the pick-and-roll. As a result of his large frame, Bamba is able to “roll” off of smaller defenders easily and contain his opponents on the offensive end. The only problem that exists with this is in the NBA, smaller guards, such as Kyrie Irving or Steph Curry will look to expose Bamba on the perimeter and pull him out of the paint for isolations.
Offensively, Bamba is not the best shooter, but if he gets position in the paint, it is game over for his defenders. In college, Bamba shot 54.1% from the floor, 27.5% from the three-point line, and 68.1% from the free-throw line. All of these numbers are solid numbers for a future NBA big man, especially the potential of his three-point shooting. His 68% free-throw shooting does not look great, but is slightly below the NBA average for his position. This past season, the league average for centers was 71.8% meaning Bamba is slightly below the league average as a future rookie. His ability to shoot the three-pointer is also something a lot of NBA franchises will take a look at with his pre-draft workouts. Having a big man who can shoot is a huge advantage in today’s NBA. Only 11 true centers took three-pointers in the NBA this season and 6 of their teams were in the playoffs. The three-pointer has become a huge asset in today’s NBA and will help Bamba in his future career if he can develop it further.
Much like many of the top prospects in this year’s draft, Mo Bamba does not really have a weakness, but more of a concern. A few NBA scouts have said that Bamba’s weight does not matchup with his size well and he may get bullied around in the NBA. We will see at the combine what Bamba weighs, but the latest measurements have him around 220 lbs. Another thing that has come up with Mohamed Bamba is his tendency to foul. As a result of being over-aggressive at times, Bamba found himself in foul trouble at Texas where he averaged 2.5 fouls a game and fouled out of 4 games this season. Other than these two things, Mohamed Bamba really has no weaknesses and should be able to see the court immediately for whatever team drafts him.
Player Outlook & NBA Comparison: A Clint Capela and Rudy Gobert hybrid
Mo Bamba is definitely not Rudy Gobert coming out of Texas, but possesses the same type of size, wingspan, and defensive tendencies as Gobert. Clint Capela is really the best comparison I can make for Mo Bamba coming out of Texas. After being drafted #25 overall in the 2014 NBA Draft, Clint Capela came into the Rockets organization standing about 6’11” and around 210 lbs like Mo Bamba. Since being drafted, Capela is now 220-225 lbs and was this past season’s best shooter percentage wise since almost all his shots came in the paint. Bamba does have more potential than Capela had and currently has as a jump-shooter, but nonetheless, Clint Capela’s tenacity and will on both the offensive and defensive ends of the court are very comparable to Bamba’s. Clint Capela never gives up on a play and the same can be said about Mohamed Bamba. The former Texas center always does what it takes to win and this mindset will help him excell in the NBA as a young center.
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