As the Orlando Magic seek a postseason appearance for the fist time in what will be three years, fifth-year big man Mo Bamba is finally starting to live up to the potential many saw when he was sixth selection in the 2018 NBA Draft.
With a plethora of high-potential, young talent on the roster, Bamba's transition into more of an experienced veteran role will be welcomed. Over the summer, where there was a lot of speculation as to where he'd end up in free agency, Bamba decided to stay in Orlando, as he signed a two-year, $21 million contract that will take him through the 2023-24 season.
Let's take a look back at what Bamba was able to produce last year, as well as what we can look forward to seeing this season.
2021-22 Season Review
Bamba appeared in 71 games for the Magic last season and started in 69 of them. He averaged a career highs across the board with 10.6 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. This included a season-high 32-point performance against MVP finalist Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers on Jan. 19. However, Orlando ultimately lost that contest, 123-110.
Bamba was ninth in the league with his 1.7 blocks per game, but when it came to total blocks, he was tied for fifth with San Antonio Spurs' Jakob Poeltl and Indiana Pacers' Myles Turner. Although rim protection is likely his best attribute as a big man, Bamba has found a way to pair that with efficient 3-point shooting on the other end of the court as well, as he shot a career-high 38.1 percent from deep.
2022-23 Season Preview
Although Bamba will start the transition from young prospect to young, experienced veteran, we must remember that he's still just 24 years old with a lot of room for improvement. The most impressive aspect of his career season last year was his durability, as it was the first time he was able to stay on the floor for more than 62 games in his career so far.
If Bamba is fortunate enough to have a second consecutive season of good health, expect him to increase his production even higher levels in the 2022-23 campaign. Last year, Bamba let the league know that he was capable of being one of the better centers in the game. This year, he'll try to take that next step in solidifying his spot in that group.
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