2018 NBA Draft Rumors: Mo Bamba Refuses to Work Out for Grizzlies

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 19, 2018

AUSTIN, TX - FEBRUARY 24: Mohamed Bamba #4 of the Texas Longhorns runs up court against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at the Frank Erwin Center on February 24, 2018 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images)
Chris Covatta/Getty Images

If Memphis Grizzlies fans have their hearts set on Texas center Mo Bamba for Thursday night's draft, they may end up disappointed.

According to ESPN.com's Jonathan Givony (h/t John Martin of 92.9 ESPN Memphis), "Bamba has refused to come to work out for Memphis, refused to share his medicals and has told them openly he would prefer not to be in Memphis."

Memphis is within Bamba's expected draft range, with most mock drafts slotting him between No. 3 to the Atlanta Hawks and No. 6 to the Orlando Magic.

B/R's Jonathan Wasserman has him at No. 3. ESPN's draft insiders project him to go No. 4 to Memphis. Jeremy Woo of SI.com, The Ringer staff and Jeff Zillgitt, Michael Singer and Sam Amick of USA Today have him going No. 6 to Orlando.

As Wasserman noted, "Bamba's 7'10" wingspan and potential as a shooter combine to fuel one of the most unique cases of upside in recent memory," adding he has "game-changing rim protection."

His fit with the Grizzlies, however, is questionable, considering the team already has Marc Gasol at center. If the Grizzlies are seeking to retool on the fly and compete for the postseason next year, either trading the pick or selecting a player who would fit more seamlessly next to Gasol and Mike Conley in the short term—think Luka Doncic, Marvin Bagley III or even Michael Porter Jr.—would make more sense.

But if the Grizzlies are seeking to undergo a full rebuild and sell off Gasol and Conley, Bamba is more logical. As Givony wrote in ESPN's mock draft:

"The Grizzlies are hoping to patch together a roster that can compete for a playoff spot next season, but it feels like a teardown and rebuild would be the more appropriate step. Bamba has unlimited upside as a rim-protecting, 3-point shooting, lob-catching freak. He has a real chance to become the best player from this draft class."

In that scenario, Bamba makes sense. But the young center appears to be safeguarding against the possibility with his lack of interest in joining the Grizzlies.