Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Mo Bamba
- NBA teams have been blown away by Mo Bamba’s workouts and feel more confident in his offensive development.
- There’s a good chance a team in the top 5 takes him for his upside, making his over/under 5.5 draft position prop an interesting bet.
The question is whether the hype wave can maintain.
Mo Bamba’s NBA draft stock started picking up steam after the college hoops season ended. Bamba’s length and athleticism were stellar throughout his one year at Texas, but after the season ended and his workouts began, the buzz started to build. There was no question — none — that Bamba was going to be able to protect the rim at the next level. You can’t teach size, yada, yada, yada.
But the league has changed. Houston’s Clint Capela was the best pure big man in the league in the playoffs, outplaying Utah’s Rudy Gobert, even, and he only barely managed to stay on the floor vs. the Warriors. It’s a small ball, hyper-versatile, switch-it-all-and-watch-it-burn world. Dinosaurs have no place, no matter how big their tail and teeth are.
What saved Bamba was his approach and his choice of trainer. Bamba works with Drew Hanlen. Hanlen’s clients include Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins, and he prides himself on his ability to develop a player’s scoring skills. His guys get buckets.
In workouts, Bamba has shown unheard of measurables. His athleticism is unreal, and his offensive game is growing. ESPN’s Kevin Arnovitz broke down Bamba’s approach and how focused he is on adapting his game to the modern NBA to stay on the floor.
And so, with all this hype, the question of his draft prop arises.
MO BAMBA DRAFT POSITION OVER/UNDER 5.5
The under is a steep price for draft props, relatively speaking, but it’s also where the value is. It’s not just that the Hawks, Grizzlies or Mavericks are likely to consider Bamba equal to or better than Jaren Jackson Jr. or Marvin Bagley — the Kings might hop that high at No. 2. They’re not exactly predictable actors.
But more importantly, the trade market is hot for multiple top-five picks, and Bamba is a target. ESPN reported the Knicks could move up to four via the Grizzlies to take Bamba.
The No. 3 pick is also in play:
If you trade up, you trade up to make a play for a guy like Bamba. This number is just soft enough to make it a solid play.
His strongest competition is Jackson, but in key areas, Bamba has more polish, like on pick-and-pop jumpers, a key sequence for any modern big man.
Bamba might be all hype. But that hype is real, and headed into the draft, it seems more likely someone swings for the fences with him than that six teams manage to stay away. Bamba has too many of the key elements teams are looking for.
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