Toronto Raptors: Five things rumored target Mo Bamba would bring to the table

Mo Bamba has emerged as a potential trade target for the Raptors – image credit: ESPN/youtube
Mo Bamba has emerged as a potential trade target for the Raptors – image credit: ESPN/youtube

Mo Bamba’s defensive acumen would bring new dynamics to an aging Raptors frontline.

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Mohammad Bamba is always an intriguing prospect because of his God-given physical tools (7-foot-1 with a 7-foot-10 wingspan) and incredible upside, especially on the defensive end.

The Orlando Magic had high hopes the former Texas Longhorns product would bloom into one of the franchise’s cornerstones when they took him No.6 overall in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Fast-forward to the present, and the Magic seems to have a change of plan. Instead of pushing for youth development, general manager John Hammond opted for stability in their frontline by re-signing 28-year-old center Nikola Vucevic to a four-year, $100 million contract.

Had the Magic decided to let Vucevic walk away in free-agency, Bamba would have secured a much larger role in his second year with the team, which would be critical in his development. Sadly, the 21-year-old big will have now to scratch and claw for precious playing time next season.

Bleacher Report writer Zach Buckley had an interesting take on Bamba’s situation with the Magic and suggested a trade idea that would send the young center to a team where he could maximize his full potential.

“Whenever the Raptors flip that switch, they should chase cheap upside wherever they can find it. Mohamed Bamba would be a fascinating option to start. His upside stretches as far his 7’10” wingspan. He has Defensive Player of the Year potential as both an intimidating anchor and a capable perimeter switcher,” Buckley writes on B/R.

While Masai Ujiri repeatedly stressed he has no plans of trading his veterans before or during the 2019-20 NBA season, many NBA experts still expect the Raptors to explore or even complete deals that would accelerate their rebuild.

According to Buckley, Bamba is the kind of player Ujiri would covet.


Youth in the frontline

Buckley believed acquiring Bamba would enable the Raptors to form a formidable one-two punch of the future. After winning the Most Improved Player of the Year, Pascal Siakam is poised to double his production with a much larger role next season. Pairing the 21-year-old Bamba to the 25-year-old Siakam would give Toronto an intimidating twin-tower that is bound to give other teams problems with their ability to protect the rim and defend on switches.



Bamba was a defensive demon at Texas, averaging 3.7 blocks in 30.2 minutes per game. While that number dipped a bit in his first year in the pros (1.4 bpg), advance metrics showed Bamba would average 4.1 blocks per 100 possessions. The Raptors already have a resident rim protector in Serge Ibaka, but Bamba could end up as a far better shot blocker in the next 3 or 4 years.

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