The outside shooting concerns for the Los Angeles Lakers were well-documented, but the team also lacked reliable size in the frontcourt outside of Anthony Davis.
While the focus of the trade deadline was what the Lakers brought back in a deal for Russell Westbrook, the frontcourt also got some reinforcements as they traded away Patrick Beverley and a second-round pick for Mo Bamba. It’s an exciting addition for Los Angeles, who gets another rim protector as well as someone who can viably space the floor.
Bamba wasn’t able to immediately suit up for the Lakers due to a four-game suspension, but he finally got to debut in the purple and gold in the win against the New Orleans Pelicans. Afterward, Bamba said playing for L.A. sparked joy.
“I was very excited, I had six fouls [laughs]. Yeah, it was everything that I hoped. It was a lot of fun… We got a young team with a lot of versatility both offensively and defensively.”
Bamba also admitted that when it comes to officiating things are different than what he initially believed. “It’s definitely different. When you’re playing against the Lakers, you feel like they get every call. But when you’re on the team, you realize they don’t… We got to go out there and fight and earn everything. But it was fun. We talked Xs and Os on the bench, hearing those guys I was just trying to do my best to be a sponge.”
The big man wasn’t able to create much of an impact offensively, but definitely he showed flashes as he had three blocks in just 16 minutes. It’s going to take some time for Bamba to adjust, but the early showings are encouraging and he should have a decent-sized role going forward.
Mo Bamba describes moment LeBron James passed it to him for dunk
Bamba only managed to score four points, but they were of the exciting variety because they both came off dunks. The most thrilling one of the night came from a pass from LeBron James, who spun in the lane and found Bamba for the one-hander. Later, Bamba joked that James predicted how the play would unfold.
“Yeah, we talked about that right before and he said that was how it was gonna happen, so it happened. Nah, it was fun. I’m a firm believer that the ball finds energy and I think that played into it. I got the tip out, tipped it out to 6 and he spun and I just wanted to be available and have my hands ready.”
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