2018 Orlando Magic NBA Draft Preview: Mohamed Bamba looking to add to Orlando Magic’s long history at center

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Mohamed Bamba, Texas Longhorns, Baylor Bears

The Orlando Magic have a history of drafting star centers. Mohamed Bamba could be what finally ends this latest rebuild and continues the franchise’s legacy at the position.

Texas Longhorns big man Mohamed Bamba is a physical specimen. At 7-feet tall with a 7-foot-9 wingspan and quick feet, Bamba has the potential to anchor a defense for a decade. Bamba averaged 12.9 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per game in college.

It is hard not to feel impressed with those raw numbers and his raw physicality. And it seemed like he was only scratching the surface.

Bamba is someone scouts are salivating over due to his immense potential. Not only do they expect him to have a Rudy Gobert-type impact on the defensive end, he also has impressed with his 3-point shooting ability in pre-draft workouts and even dating back to practices at Texas.

His game may be raw, but the outlines suggest he could be something very special. Especially with the work he has already been willing to put in.

While Bamba only shot 27 percent on threes in college, he only took 51 shots from beyond the arc all season. Bamba was used as more of a rim running big and lob threat on the inside.

That potential is merely potential. What Bamba is right now is an athletic freak. Someone who just overpowers defenders with his length and size.

Bamba is a great athlete for a guy his size. He is quick off his feet and nimble enough to switch onto most guards on the perimeter and then use his incredible length to affect their shots.

So why is this Draft Combine marvel who oozes potential not projected to go number one in this year’s draft?

Mohamed Bamba did not put up the type of production in college that other bigs in this draft like Deandre Ayton and Marvin Bagley III did. Bamba’s skills were more instinctual and not well refined. He has a long way to go in this game.

Some games, he seemed to disappear on the court and not dominate lesser competition like some draft pundits and teams would have hoped. There are also questions just like with every player about whether or not he can fulfill all that potential he has.

But ever since Dwight Howard left town the Orlando Magic have had trouble defensively and protecting the rim in particular. Bamba could be the answer to fix their defensive troubles and maybe do much more.

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