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Magic HC Steve Clifford believes playing behind Nikola Vucevic is good for Mo Bamba

Magic, Steve Clifford, Nikola Vucevic, Mo Bamba

Orlando Magic head coach Steve Clifford has high hopes for Mo Bamba despite having a sub-par rookie season.

Per John Denton of OrlandoMagic.com, Clifford said that Bamba will continue playing behind All-Star center Nikola Vucevic, and he believes it is definitely not a bad thing. The second-year coach is convinced that putting Bamba behind Vucevic would eventually help the former in the long run.

“What you want to have in the NBA is you want to have as many good players as you can and we’re in a place now where it’s about winning,” Clifford said. “I’d say this to any fan: `If you can give me a guy who can average 20 (points) and 12 (rebounds) and give me some intelligent reason why a team wouldn’t bring him back, that’d be a creative thinker.'”

“I’ve been doing this a ton of years and I think (Vucevic) is good for Mo, Mo has a chance to be a good player and I think it’s good for him (to play behind Vucevic.)”

Bamba was the sixth overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. There were high expectations from him heading into his rookie season, but the former Texas standout was limited to just 47 games primarily because of a stress fracture in his left tibia. The 21-year-old center averaged just 6.2 points on top of 5.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per contest.

Clifford said that Mamba is in good condition and is actually included on the Magic’s Las Vegas Summer League team. He added that that the incoming second-year center is working hard and is in a “good place” in terms of his strength level heading into the training camp.