Eight 3-and-D players the Houston Rockets should target

Philadelphia 76ers Matisse Thybulle (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Philadelphia 76ers Matisse Thybulle (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
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Houston Rockets
Orlando Magic Mo Bamba (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /

8. Mo Bamba

Although many people only know the name Mo Bamba because of the song in which he was named after, the second-year center is an intriguing young prospect.

Bamba is an elite rim protector, as he averages 3.4 blocks per 36 minutes and averaged three blocks per 36 minutes during his rookie season as well. The former Longhorn is also averaging 12.8 points and 12 rebounds per 36 minutes, which the Rockets could certainly use.

On top of that, Bamba is 7-feet-tall, which would instantly make him the tallest player on the Rockets. Bamba is far from a 3-point sniper, but his long-range shooting has improved from 30 percent during his rookie season to 32.5 percent during his sophomore campaign and would certainly benefit from playing alongside two passers in James Harden and Russell Westbrook.

Bamba ranks inside the top 80 in the league in defensive win shares and ranks fifth in defensive box plus-minus this season. His defensive box plus-minus is actually the same as 2019 Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, which shows how elite of a defender Bamba is.

In spite of that, Bamba is only playing 15.3 minutes per game, which is actually less than he played as a rookie. According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the Magic were fielding calls for Bamba during his rookie season, which was before they made the long-term commitment to Nikola Vucevic. It would especially make sense for the Magic to move Bamba, as they don’t necessarily have a need for him with Vucevic and Jonathan Isaac on the roster.

Bamba has a salary of $5.6 million this season, which means the Houston Rockets can trade Nene, Thabo Sefolosha and Gerald Green to land the 21-year-old center. As the Magic are rebuilding, they’d surely want draft compensation as well, but the price shouldn’t be too high since they’ve been looking to move him and haven’t yielded any offers.

Bamba has a defensive field goal percentage of 42.5 percent, which would be second-best on the Rockets (excluding Chris Clemons) and has a player efficiency rating of 16.1, which would be the fifth-best on the Houston Rockets as well.

Next: No. 7