The former No. 6 overall pick has only started six games in three years, with five of them coming in the final 24 games of last season, after the Magic traded the team’s long-standing linchpin, Nikola Vucevic, to the Bulls. Of course, those starts only came when Wendell Carter Jr., who came back from Chicago in the deal, wasn’t playing.
With Bamba entering the final year of his rookie contract, Robbins talks to NBA scouts about the future for the big man.
“Talent-wise, he has a ceiling that he could be really good if he’s locked-in,” one scout said. “He has a chance, but I don’t know if his motor will let him get there.”
In examining Bamba’s strengths, Robbins quotes the big man’s 91st-percentile for percentage of opposing teams’ shots blocked, as well as his burgeoning jumpshot, but scouts worry that his tools are far ahead of his defensive instincts and reactivity. One scout says that Orlando may ultimately be better served to let another team try to develop Bamba once his rookie deal expires. However, Robbins observes that a new coach and system could be huge for his development, and that the team still seems at least relatively committed to him.
We have more news from around the Southeast Division:
- In a similar piece from earlier this month, Robbins talked to scouts about Cole Anthony, who, like Bamba, faces a similar uncertainty given the Magic‘s depth at the point guard spot. The scouts came away more impressed with Anthony’s ability to get into the paint and play with physicality than expected, especially on the offensive glass, but almost unanimously said his lack of vision as a playmaker and his limitations defensively will probably keep him from becoming a starting point guard for a good team.
- Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun-Sentinel believes that it’s possible we see a mid-season send-off for lifelong Heat veteran Udonis Haslem, he writes in a recent mailbag. He also says Haslem may have been biding his time and waiting for the perfect moment to get his big farewell.
- In a separate piece, Winderman calls Kevin Love‘s recently-reported disinterest in a buyout “pure posturing,” while saying the Heat would likely be interested, especially with a bit of a hole at the power forward position. However, he’s unsure if Miami currently holds the “contender” status in the eyes of players that could woo Love over a team like the Lakers or Warriors.