Former University of Texas big man Mo Bamba has made it clear that he does not wish to be selected by the Memphis Grizzlies. But should they even want him in the first place?
In the recent weeks leading up to the 2018 NBA Draft, Mo Bamba‘s name has skyrocketed up many draft boards around the league. The hype surrounding the former University of Texas big man has never been stronger.
Much of the newfound excitement for Bamba’s future comes from recent videos surfacing of him draining three point shots with relative ease. The prospect of a seven-footer that not only possesses a 7-foot-10 wingspan, but also a reliable three-point shot, is quite tantalizing.
This is likely causing every team in the top five to at least entertain the idea of selecting Bamba with their respective selection. Any team from picks two through seven could conceivably land him come Thursday night, but perhaps one team just found themselves removed from that list.
Per ESPN.com’s Jonathan Givony, “Bamba has refused to come to work out for Memphis, refused to share his medicals and has told them openly he would prefer not to be in Memphis.”
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Bamba has made it clear that he wants nothing to do with the Memphis Grizzlies. Bamba is practically guaranteed to be drafted somewhere in the top seven picks, so it makes sense that he uses this leverage to try and ensure he does not end up in a situation that he deems less than ideal.
The Grizzlies would be by far the worst situation for Bamba in the top seven. With a head coach entering his first full season and the team likely hoping to return to playoff form in 2018, the Grizzlies are a team with a questionable future.
An even bigger deterrent for Bamba could be the presence of Marc Gasol. Gasol is an immensely talented player, being selected to three All-Star Games throughout his career, but it’s simply hard to envision him playing successfully alongside Bamba. One of the two players would be forced to guard power forwards, which would be defensive folly in today’s small-ball-heavy NBA.
This lack of fit would lead one to believe that the Grizzlies wouldn’t want to draft Bamba in the first place, but based on the fact that they requested a workout with Bamba, they were at least considering selecting him. Perhaps they think Gasol is on his way out and Bamba could be the future for the franchise.
But seeing that the team possesses two high-caliber players in Gasol and Mike Conley, it is hard to devise a scenario in which it is looking exclusively long-term with this pick. Selecting a player such as Marvin Bagley who has the ability to play alongside Gasol and be an impact player as a rookie makes much more sense for the Grizzlies if they wish to find themselves back in playoff contention next season.
Whether they were ever truly interested in Bamba or not, it would be a poor fit for both sides. This questionable fit combined with Bamba making it explicitly clear that he has no desire to sport a Grizzlies jersey make it extremely unlikely that Bamba will end up being the fourth pick in the draft.