BEVO BEAT Men's Basketball

The NBA Lottery has passed; Could the Dallas Mavericks draft Texas center Mo Bamba?

Posted May 16th, 2018

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The Phoenix Suns won the NBA Draft lottery on Tuesday, and the consensus is the Suns are in position to take Deandre Ayton, an Arizona native who played at the University of Arizona, with the first pick.

After the first three picks, though, it seems anything can happen. What we know is a composite list of seven NBA mock drafts compiled by NBA.com’s Drew Packham, reveals the Suns will take Ayton, followed by the Sacramento Kings take Luka Doncic and the Atlanta Hawks taking Marvin Bagley.

Then things get tricky.

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CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish has Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr. going to Memphis and Dallas taking Jaren Jackson of Michigan State. Texas freshman Mo Bamba doesn’t get selected until after Oklahoma guard Trae Young, with Young heading to Orlando and Bamba to Chicago. The Bulls once took another shot-blocking Texas center in the lottery, Chris Mihm, before a draft day trade sent him to Cleveland 18 years ago.

Sports Illustrated is an outlier, with Jackson going third, Bagley fourth and Bamba to Dallas at five.

The composite list likes Dallas taking Bamba at five, with five mock drafts making that prediction.

If the Mavericks selected Bamba, it would be first Longhorn taken by Dallas since Jordan Hamilton in 2011 with the 26th pick. However, Hamilton never played for Dallas. He was traded as part of a three-team deal involving the Portland Trailblazers and Denver Nuggets. Hamilton wound up in Denver.

If Dallas took Bamba and kept the pick, it would be the first time it ever happened, as the only other Mavericks-Longhorn pick came in 1985 when Dallas took Carlton Cooper in the sixth round. Cooper never played for Dallas, but did go on to be the athletic director at Texas A&M University-Commerce.

Bamba has drawn comparisons to the NBA’s best shot blocker, Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, and he certainly displayed that ability at Texas. Bamba finished with 111 blocks on the season, including eight in one game against Kansas. 

Parrish, who has Bamba going the lowest of the handful of mock drafts, writes: ” The only concern I’ve heard is that he’s such a bright young man with so many interests that some wonder if he actually wants to live in the gym, which is a prerequisite to NBA stardom. ”

A player being too smart and wanting a life outside of his sport seems to be a popular nitpick these days. UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, seen as possible No. 1 pick in last month’s NFL Draft dropped to No. 10 in the draft for similar reasons. It’s not as if off-the-court ambitions slowed down Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Magic Johnson (they have a combined 14 titles and lucrative businesses off the court), so perhaps that bizarre critique won’t play a factor.

As for the other Longhorns in the draft, Eric Davis and Kerwin Roach do not appear on any of the mock drafts, including NBADratNet’s mock draft which includes the second round.

 

 

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