Torres: Doncic, Bamba Not Franchise Players

Luka Doncic and Mo Bamba are likely lottery picks, but Aaron Torres has doubts about both

June 20, 2018 - 10:13 am

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With the NBA Draft almost upon us, The Athletic’s Aaron Torres dropped by CBS Sports Radio to discuss the top prospects who will be selected Thursday. 

Luka Doncic and Mo Bamba are both projected lottery picks, but Torres has doubts about both. 

We’ll start with Doncic, who is perhaps limited athletically but has impressed scouts with his shooting and playmaking ability.

“I think those are the things that everybody loves about him,” Torres said on Ferrall on the Bench. “You don’t have to be an elite athlete to get to the rim. Look at James Harden. Somehow he's at the rim 15 times a game getting buckets, and you never know how he does it. But look, I get that playing at the highest levels of Europe is better than playing in college basketball. I will not dispute that. But people talk about this league as if it is pseudo-comparable to the NBA. Look at the American players who are having success over there.”

Like Anthony Randolph, a first-round pick out of LSU in 2008 who never amounted to anything in the NBA. The 28-year-old has received individual accolades in Europe and this year won a EuroLeague championship.

“Anthony Randolph, who played for like five or six NBA teams and never found a home is having a ton of success in that league,” Torres said. “So it does make me worry (about Doncic). I understand that he’s doing things in that league at that level that have never been done before for a player at his age, and maybe he projects out better than a lot of other European prospects in the past. But even with the playmaking ability, the shooting ability, I just don’t know if he’s that guy that can put a franchise on his back. Thats my concern with him. Great player, great talent for his age. But let’s not act like he was doing it at anything close to the version of the NBA.”

Bamba, meanwhile, reminds Torres of another highly touted prospect – and not in a good way.

“Mo Bamba is this year’s Markelle Fultz,” Torres said. “Markelle Fultz, if you watched him in college, for the entire season he would drop 25, 5 and 5, his demeanor wouldn’t change from the opening tip to the end of the game, and his team would lose by 20 every night. I don’t care what Markelle Fultz’s measureables are. I don’t care what his shuttle drill is or how great he is in the pick-and-roll. He has no impact on wins and losses. That’s how I feel about Mo Bamba.”

Bamba averaged 12.9 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.7 blocks for Texas, which went 19-15 last season.

“All I see with Bamba is he’s got the biggest wingspan in NBA Draft combine history, and he runs the floor faster than Russell Westbrook,” Torres said. “It doesn’t matter. He is Markelle Fultz. He put up (13), 11 and 4 and it had no impact on a game. I’m not saying that Bamba can’t be good. I think he’ll be pretty good defensively. But I think he’s very limited in what he can do offensively. I think he’s very limited in what he’ll ever be able to do offensively.”

Bamba has apparently reconstructed his jump shot, which Torres is taking with a grain of salt.

“It reminds me of all the times Tim Tebow reconstructed his throwing motion and he looked great in workouts and then in game one he went back to doing what he was doing,” Torres said. “I feel the same way about Bamba. He’ll be a great defensive player, but he’s not a game-changer and he’s not a guy that I ever think will develop into anything as a serious offensive threat.”