He was a 15-time All-Star, a 12-time All-Defensive Team selection, a nine-time All-NBA performer, an MVP, a Defensive Player of the Year and a world champ. And now, Kevin Garnett is helping groom the next era of great big men, working out with former Texas center Mo Bamba and former Michigan State big man Jaren Jackson Jr.
Who is Mo Bamba?
Bamba is a likely top-five pick after just one season at the University of Texas. An outstanding athlete at 6’11” and 225 pounds, Bamba averaged 12.9 points and 10.5 rebounds per game in his lone season in Austin, which ended with a loss to Nevada in the Round of 64. He also finished second in the nation with 3.7 blocks per game.
Bamba is still developing offensively — though he has shown some flashes facing up — and full of potential thanks to his athleticism and size. He can be an anchor defensively, a terrific presence at the rim at both ends with a 7’9″ wingspan. He runs the floor really well and is an explosive jumper. Bamba shot 54.1 percent from the field this season and even attempted 51 three-pointers (but shot just 27.1 percent).
Who is Jaren Jackson Jr.?
Jackson Jr. is a lanky big man who, like Bamba is a terrific athlete. He measures 6’11” and 242 pounds. In his one season with the Spartans, Jackson Jr. averaged 10.9 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest, and he shot an impressive 39.6 from deep. Jackson Jr.’s offensive game is quite polished, as shown by that three-point percentage, and he has the skills to put the ball on the floor and score off the bounce.
Jackson Jr. is likely a lottery pick and will immediately be a versatile weapon wherever he ends up. He shot 51.3 percent from the field and 79.7 percent from the free-throw line. A springy jumper, Jackson Jr. will need to develop defensively, but he has a bright future as a key building block for a lottery franchise.
How will Kevin Garnett help?
Garnett, who played 21 seasons in the NBA, was known for being one of the league’s truly dominant big men for the vast majority of his career. He averaged a double-double — 17.8 points and 10.0 rebounds — during his esteemed career. An intimidating force on the defensive end, “The Big Ticket” led the league in total rebounds four straight season from 2003-2004 to 2006-2007. Garnett, who made the jump to the NBA straight from high school in 1995, became the heart and soul of the Minnesota Timberwolves almost immediately. At 6’11” and 240 pounds, Garnett has a similar body type to both Bamba and Jackson Jr., and his body of work speaks for itself. He can help each prospect on both ends and help increase their knowledge of the game as they adapt to the faster-paced, higher-skilled NBA.
The NBA Combine and NBA draft are next…
Bamba and Jackson Jr. are two of the 69 players headed to the NBA Combine, which takes place on May 17 and 18 in Chicago. They will then likely be invited to the NBA draft, which takes place on June 21.
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