Barring any major negative development, all signs are pointing to Mohamed Bamba hearing his name called early in the upcoming 2018 NBA Draft.
The 6’11” center out of the University of Texas performed well in his one-and-done season there, averaging 12.9 points, 10.5 rebounds and an astounding 3.6 blocks in 30.2 minutes per contest.
Although he is still a bit raw overall offensively, he shoots with range, has nice touch on his shot, can dribble, is versatile and resembles superstar Joel Embiid in many ways. Defensively, he projects as a dominant force at the next level, due in part to his absurd 7’9” wingspan.
There is still a lot of time between now and the June 21 draft, so it’s too early to accurately project the exact place where he’ll end up, especially since the lottery didn’t take place yet. However, it’s safe to say that (as of right now) he’d most likely be a top 10 pick.
Appearing on ESPN’s The Jump on Thursday, Bamba revealed the team that he’d love to play for.
Since he grew up in Harlem, New York, it’d be the best-case scenario for Bamba if the Knicks called his name. "That's funny," Bamba replied when asked about his interest in the Knicks. "I didn't know the Knicks were in contention to be the No. 1 pick.”
He’s obviously confident.
In all seriousness, it’d mean a lot for him to suit up for his hometown club. "It honestly would mean the world to me -- I grew up watching the Knicks," Bamba said. "I watched the Knicks when they were at their worst, and I would always root for them because it's always been in my heart. It would be awesome, you know. I live three train stops from there."
Most of all, he’d like to develop a rivalry against Joel Embiid, who he recently trained with. New York and Philadelphia are geographically close and the two teams usually meet up multiple times during the regular season, so even that would be a plus for him.
"He's the guy I really want to play against," Bamba noted. "I learned so much from him in just a couple of days of being around him. He's a guy I'm really inspired to be like, and he's the guy I want to go at."
Although it’s far too early to project where he ends up, he’d love to call Madison Square Garden home. Alongside Kristaps Porzingis, he’d make up half of one of the more freakish and difficult-to-defend frontcourts in the entire NBA, especially if he can hit three-point shots with consistency at the pro level.
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