Magic center Mo Bamba happy to have Nikola Vucevic back even if it prevents him from getting starting role
The seven-footer and shot-block savant “sounded excited” when the mention of Vucevic’s return was made, per Josh Robbins in The Athletic. Despite Vucevic’s new contract with Orlando seemingly preventing a full-time role for the 21-year-old manning the middle, Bamba isn’t sweating the ostensive impediment in his development for the Magic.
“I just think it was best for the team,” Bamba added. “He was our guy last year. He was an All-Star and he was the reason why we were in the playoffs. But I’m going to keep working. It’s not going to stop me from working on my game and working on the best version of myself.”
Vucevic and Bamba became friends even before last year’s training camp started. Bamba would ask Vucevic questions, and Vucevic gladly responded.
Bamba would go on to tell Robbins that Vucevic is like an “older brother,” and someone he can “really lean on” in terms of learning the NBA game.
The Magic selected Mo Bamba with the sixth overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. Bamba played collegiate basketball at the University of Texas at Austin under head coach Shaka Smart.
Bamba averaged 6.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game in only 47 appearances during his freshman year in the Association.
It wasn’t a given Vucevic, a free agent, would return to the Magic. But the 28-year-old Montenegrin earned his first All-Star Game appearance in 2019 and could pave the way to Bamba’s eventual coronation as starting center.