Orlando Magic Playbook: 4 areas Mohamed Bamba must improve

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Khem Birch, Mohamed Bamba, Orlando Magic, Bobby Portis, Milwaukee Bucks
Mohamed Bamba will have to step into Khem Birch’s big shoes as the Orlando Magic put their full focus on their young players. (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images) /

Defensive rebounding

Nikola Vucevic’s departure has clearly hit the team hard on the offensive end, but also when it comes to rebounding.

And Mohamed Bamba is one of those who needs to become a better rebounder in order for Nikola Vucevic’s absence not to hurt the team in the long-term.

For the season, Bamba is posting a 23.1-percent defensive rebound rate. That ranks him second on the team for the season. But certainly, a lot of that is coming from a time where he played precious few minutes.

Since the trade deadline and since he got regular minutes, Bamba is posting only a 21.4-percent defensive rebound rate. Vucevic was better than 28-percent as one of the best rebounders in the league while he was with the Magic.

Further, according to data from Second Spectrum, Bamba grabs only 1.3 contested defensive rebounds per game. Meaning only a bit more than a quarter of his rebounds come with another player vying for the board. Wendell Carter, who has also had his share of struggles on the glass, is grabbing 36-percent of his boards as contested rebounds.

Bamba clearly has the size and length to be an effective rebounder. The issues once again come back to strength and core skills like boxing out other players.

Look at this play involving the LA Clippers’ Ivica Zubac:

Bamba fails to box out, allowing Zubac to grab the ball and give his team another chance at scoring. It comes back to the way he deals with physical centers.

But there is hope. A double-double in the loss to the Grizzlies showcased his potential as a rebounder and he will only get better at the basics as he gets more time on the court. His understanding of where to be will also improve.

Becoming a better rebounder will be instrumental in his overall development into a starter. If he is to get there. There is still plenty of time for him to become more competent in these core skills and it is vital that he does so.