Magic GM: Defense Will Be Easy For Bamba

If Mo Bamba develops offensively, the sky's the limit

Tiki and Tierney
June 26, 2018 - 5:15 pm

USA Today Images


The Orlando Magic drafted Mo Bamba with the sixth overall pick in the NBA Draft last Thursday, and general manager John Hammond believes the 20-year-old’s upside is limitless. 

Bamba is 7’1 with a 7’10 wingspan. He averaged 12.9 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.7 blocks at Texas last season.

Just how far can he go in the NBA?

“Where can he go? It all probably comes down to the offensive end of the floor,” Hammond said on Tiki and Tierney. “First and foremost, he’s going to have to get stronger, and he will do that. We’re going to put him in position to be as strong as he can possibly be from a nutritional standpoint, from a strength-training standpoint, from a conditioning standpoint. We’re going to do all of those things for him to help him along the way.”

Bamba shot 54.1 percent from the floor at Texas and 68.1 percent from the foul line. He hopes to improve on both numbers in the NBA.

“Offensively, he’s just going to continue to improve,” Hammond said. “You think about these great back-to-the-basket players and you could say, ‘Well, those guys are few and far between today.’ And they are. But still, these players, when you show the ball to them on the block, the great players, you know what they’re going to do; the question is, can you stop it?”

Bamba will be much tougher to stop if he develops an outside shot. He shot 27.5 percent from three in college but impressed scouts with his shooting touch during workouts.

“All of these bigs can stretch the floor,” Hammond said of the NBA’s best big men. “Mo showed his ability to do that in his pre-draft workouts. He showed that at times at Texas. He has a naturally soft touch for the ball.”

Notice Hammond said nothing about Bamba’s defense – or his 3.7 blocks per game.

“I didn’t mention defense because I do think to a certain extent that’s going to be the easy part for him,” Hammond said. “He’s got quick feel laterally, and his ability to block shots – he should come in the league and be able to do that immediately.”