The Real No. 1 Pick

The Real No. 1 Prospect

Mo Bamba Has Quickly Separated Himself as the NBA’s Best Prospect

“I should be the No. 1 pick in the draft.”

He’s different from most NBA prospects, cut from the same cloth as Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics. An athletic phenom who could have done anything he desired off the floor, yet chose to follow the path of basketball. Mo Bamba stands at 6-foot-11 with a a 9-foot-8 standing reach, which at first glance is very much what an NBA player should look like. Moreover, he has added 30-pounds to his frame over the past three years and has set a new league record with a 7-foot-10 wingspan.

Nevertheless, the is more to Bamba than what meets the eye.

Born in Harlem, Bamba is different from most young players today who live and breath the game of basketball. His life doesn’t simply revolve around the court. The 20-year old has attended the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on two separate occasions and at one point considered attending an Ivy League program, with an offer from Harvard University on the table.

“I learned a lot of different things on many different fronts,” Spoke Bamba on his experiences from Daryl Morey’s conferences. “I learned about the game of basketball from an analytics view. We did an entire seminar with a panel on how to guard a pick-and-roll. I remember getting up and asking a question, ‘Does this translate to at all to the high school level?’ They didn’t really have an answer for it.”

A well-spoken young man off the floor, Bamba would eventually opt to commit to the University of Texas, choosing to become a Longhorn over a chance of playing at Kentucky, Michigan State, and even Duke.

On the court the physical tools that Bamba presents pits him in a class of his own. He is an elite shot blocker with an offensive game more polished than most rim protectors can ever dream of having in their primes. With the agility, size, and quickness that surely dubs him an athletic freak of nature.

Ahead of the draft he has already worked with Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid at refining his post game as well as with trainer Drew Hanlen who has helped Bamba refine his shooting stroke.

“My mechanics are so much better,” Bamba said recently. “My landings are softer. I lowered my [shooting] pocket. I’ve got my elbow out. The ball is coming off my two guide fingers. It looks really smooth. I’m also shooting it a lot quicker. At Texas I was getting my shot off in 0.93 seconds, and now I’m getting it off in 0.72.”.

Shooting the three-pointer at 27.5% clip at Texas, the new transformation has payed dividends as the big man drained nearly 80% of his shots behind the arc from NBA range at a pre-draft workout.

“I had to put my trust in Drew,” Bamba admitted. “And the results are there. The mechanics are really paying dividends for the betterment of my jump shot. With that corner 3, it’s the highest percentage shot in the game. You get 1.5 more points than a regular 2-point shot, and it’s a lot closer. A lot of playcalls are for the corner 3. I thought that’s something I should really work on. I’m shooting really well from there.”

His ceiling is off the charts.

Drawing comparisons to Hassan Whiteside and Rudy Gobert, Bamba averaged a ridiculous five-blocks a game at Texas, showing great natural instincts and an advanced approach to rim protecting rarely seen at his age. With length and agility, Bamba is vicious at the rim, runs the floor very well for a big man and has all the tools and makeup to develop an above average offensive game, which will include a reliable three-point shot.

With his versatility on the defensive end, Bamba is able to switch on screens effectively, rotate with excellent timing, and take on positions one-through-five if need be. Scouts have lauded Bamba for being far better at this stage of his development than Utah Jazz’s Gobert was at his age, and really with Bamba’s potential, he can one day become a player unlike ever seen in the history of the NBA.

Mo Bamba has become the NBA’s best prospect and it’s time to buy into the hype.


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