Former Texas big man Mohamed Bamba met with Bulls executives Thursday and believes he could be a perfect fit for coach Fred Hoiberg’s offense.
Bamba, who said the Bulls were one of 13 teams he met with in the previous 24 hours, believes he could mesh well with Lauri Markkanen.
“I could really see myself fitting in,” Bamba said at the NBA combine. “Lauri is a three-point shooter. He’s a really good three-point shooter. He stretches the floor, which gives me a lot of room to operate in the mid-post and low-post area. Obviously, I have to do my diligence to get stronger and get better in those areas, but I think we’d play well together.”
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But the chances that Bamba will be available when the Bulls pick at No. 7 are slim to none.
To get Bamba, who’s predicted to be a top-five pick, the Bulls likely would need to trade up. Vice president of basketball operations John Paxson has said trading up isn’t out of the question, but he also said after the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday that it wasn’t in his plans.
Bamba, who measured at 6-11 and 225 pounds, would give the Bulls an elite defensive player with the potential to become a stretch four.
“I’d say my biggest strength right now, just one word to summarize it all, is just my presence,” Bamba said. “Both offensively and defensively, the presence that I have is pretty profound. I don’t think any other prospect has this presence.
“I do more but require less. That’s both on the court and off the court. I feel I’m the most efficient guy in this draft class.”
In his lone season with the Longhorns, Bamba set the program record for blocks in a season with 111 in 30 games. He ranked second in the country with 3.7 blocks per game. Marshall’s Ajdin Penava averaged 3.94.
Bamba, who was born in Harlem in New York, averaged a double-double for the season with 12.9 points and 10.5 rebounds per game.
He broke the combine record with a 7-10 wingspan.
“It actually surprised myself,” Bamba said.
He said he’s open to working out with as many teams as possible. He wants to make it clear that his passion for the game fuels his motivation to improve.
“I think the biggest misconception about my game is my love for it,” Bamba said. “This is what I want to do. I owe this game my life. There’s no other way around it. This is what I want to do for the next 20 years of my life.”