Tonight it has been announced that the Orlando Magic have chosen to pick up Mo Bamba’s option for his 4th year. Let’s take a look at Mo.
BAMBA AS A MAGIC PLAYER
Mo has been troubled by injury since being drafted at 6 in 2018. In his rookie season he fractured a bone in his leg. That meant Mo missed the entire 22-9 run to the playoffs. He also missed the 5 game series loss to the Raptors.
Returning for his second season Mo played in most games up until the hiatus in March 2020. His minutes were slightly down on those of his rookie season but he was showing some signs of progress. His block stats were some of the best in the NBA making 86 blocks on the season (17th in the NBA) equating to 1.4 per game (joint 12th in the NBA). And importantly to his being a scoring threat Bamba’s 3 point shot improved (shooting almost 35%).
Unfortunately Mo caught COVID just as players were returning to the team gym to get back to basketball. Once the bubble began Mo looked out of shape. In each of the scrimmage games he played no more than six or seven minutes and struggled to produce.
What we didn’t know at this point was that Mo was still suffering with the after effects of his COVID diagnosis. This caused him to have to leave the bubble, missing all games after the win over Sacramento on August 2nd. For a second season Bamba gained no playoff experience.
MO BAMBA INJURY UPDATE
With Mo being behind Nikola Vucevic & arguably Khem Birch the depth allows another cautious approach to Mo’s rehab.
He has now been cleared tonight to take part in full contact drills but there is still no clear date for his return to game action.
He has spent a month in California working with a personal trainer. The last 2 months before training camp have seen him doing 3.5 miles daily runs and court work in Orlando. He’s also dropped some of the weight he’d previously added.
Mo has said he wants a clear goal from the Magic for his growth & his personal goal is to carve out a bigger role in the rotation for himself.
Mo can play D and stretch the 4. It is no surprise to see Orlando pick up Mo Bamba’s option as he has always been said to be a long term project.
It is time for him to take the steps forward and to show progress that rewards the Magic’s faith in him.