Orlando Magic Playbook: 4 areas Mohamed Bamba must improve

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Mohamed Bamba, Orlando Magic
Orlando Magic center Mohamed Bamba has not developed much of an interior offensive game. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports /

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Mohamed Bamba’s scoring numbers have taken a significant leap since the trade deadline. The center is averaging a career-high 7.4 points per game this year despite having his minutes very limited during the first half of the season, helped largely by an average of 10.8 points per game in the month of April.

His offensive performances have been an enormous source of optimism. The 22-year-old has shown a consistent ability to score while remaining efficient, making more than half of his shots this month.

But Bamba’s offensive game is unusual for a player of his type. Naturally, you might expect a 7-foot center to get most of his points in the paint by capitalizing on mismatches and coming off pick and rolls. Bamba has shown he can do this too, but much of his game reminds orientated around the perimeter.

He looks more comfortable operating away from the basket than near it. This is not necessarily a knock on Bamba, being able to shoot well as a big man is a terrific skill to have in today’s NBA and Mo is making 37 percent of his three-point attempts so far this year.

It gives him an edge over players at his position, allowing him to stretch the floor and pull opposition centers out of the paint. Bamba has also shown an ability to shoot off the dribble and from mid-range, which at his size is not easy to do.

The area where his offensive game has the most room to grow is when it comes to post-ups and having his back to the basket. Despite the game being played further and further away from the basket, adding a go-to move while he has his back to the rim can see him become a more effective player.

According to NBA.com, Bamba has a post-up frequency rate of just 6.8 percent. He is happy for his offense to happen away from the basket and then take the easy opportunities that come his way, such as tip-ins and alley-oops.

Bamba scores just 0.68 points per possession on 0.5 post-up possessions per game. Additionally, he is still rarely used as the roll man in pick and rolls. According to data from Basketball-Index, Bamba pops on 67-percent of his pick-and-roll plays.

Still, he has shown some efficiency as a roll man, scoring 1.10 points per possession on 1.9 pick-and-roll possessions per game with a solid 56.3-percent effective field goal percentage. But most of these are him floating out on the perimeter.

Developing a better post-game can help Bamba enormously, and this can be aided by him establishing a go-to move when he gets into the right position. His score frequency percentage for post-ups this season is just 36.8 percent, demonstrating a lack of confidence when he gets down in the post.

Adding better footwork and a move to get a decent shot attempt would be a good start in further diversifying his offensive game to become a more complete scorer. These seemingly ‘old-school’ skills are still important for centers, just look at the top players in the league at Bamba’s position.