There are reports that the Celtics are interested in Texas big man Mo Bamba. Boston is reportedly willing to move up moving up in the draft to take him. Bamba is a 6’11” prospect with a record-breaking 7’10” wingspan.
Considered the most NBA ready rim protector in his draft class, Bamba has the highest ceiling out of every prospect this year. He averaged 12.9 points, 10.5 rebounds, and an absurd 3.7 blocks per game in 30 appearances for Texas as a freshman. He possesses good lateral quickness for a guy his size, making him a deadly offensive threat if he can improve on his footwork. His 68% shooting from the charity stripe indicates potential for a consistent outside shot, adding to his respectable 28% three point percentage.
The main drawback with Bamba is his frame. As long as he is, he weighs in at only 216 pounds. As a comparison, Marcus Morris is three inches shorter and weighs 19 pounds more than Bamba. He also tends to have an inconsistent motor. He can sometimes get hot and score in bunches, and other times he is nonexistent on the court.
Bamba is a ridiculous physical specimen that, despite a few shortcomings, has perhaps the highest floor in the draft just as much as he has one of the highest ceilings. His length and athleticism will make him an instant rim protector from the get go. His most common NBA comparison is Rudy Gobert based on his physical attributes.
Will Boston Make a Move?
The Celtics have a major need for a rim-protecting big man that can hold down the paint and grab rebounds consistently. The team has implemented a rebound by committee approach that landed them ranked fifth in the NBA in boards. However, the team struggled to control the boards against Cleveland in the Eastern Conference Finals. In three of their four losses to the Cavs, the Celtics were out-rebounded, giving up key second chance opportunities from offensive rebounds.
Mo Bamba is the one prospect that has all of the attributes the Celtics are looking for. It makes sense that the team is looking into moving up to snag him. The team already interviewed him at the Chicago pre-draft combine a few weeks ago.
Boston has the assets to make a trade, but the question becomes- is Danny Ainge willing to cough up enough to make it happen?
The Celtics possess the Sacramento Kings’ first round pick in the 2019 draft. They have their own 27th overall pick this year, and the Memphis’s first round pick in 2019. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown surely will be inquired about in such trade talks. It is doubtful that Ainge includes either in such a deal.
The Grizzlies at number four and the Mavericks at five have both expressed interest in trading their picks this year. Mo Bamba has been projected as high as third but will most likely fall to the 4-6 range.
The most likely trade scenario would have to involve Terry Rozier. He has an expiring contract after next season, leaving him expendable. There has already been talk about concern of Rozier’s ultimate departure for a team willing to let him blossom as a starting point guard. His value blew through the roof during Boston’s playoff push this season, averaging 17.6 points, 6.7 assists, and 4.3 rebounds per game while shooting 38% from three.
Boston could pair him up with next year’s Sacramento pick and toss in their own first round pick this year to sweeten the deal. Boston has the assets to make it happen, it’s only a matter of if they want to pull the trigger.
Who says no? Is such a deal worth it for Boston to add another intriguing prospect to the roster? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.