Mohamed Bamba is a mouth-watering prospect. He’s a 7-footer with a 7-foot-9 wingspan, longer than any active NBA player. He swats opposing shots like he’s spiking volleyballs. He has the makings of being a serviceable 3-point shooter. He’s probably going to be a top-five pick, or at least top-eight. According to ESPN’s draft expert Jonathan Givony, Bamba has ruled out one of the teams drafting in the top five; he doesn’t want to be on the Memphis Grizzlies, Givony said on an episode of ESPN Radio’s “Jason & John” (transcribed by TheScore):
“Mo Bamba has refused to come to workout for Memphis, refused to share his medicals, and has told them openly he would prefer not to be in Memphis,” Givony said.
If he wants to be an instant-impact player, it makes some sense that Bamba wouldn’t want to play in Memphis, where he’d be rather redundant with star center Marc Gasol. Bamba could take his time and learn under Gasol until he’s ready to have the torch passed to him (Gasol is 33 years old), but perhaps Bamba would rather be “the guy” immediately for a team like Dallas, Orlando or Chicago.
Bamba is projected to go fifth overall to the Dallas Mavericks in Def Pen’s latest mock draft.