Ben Mbala, the Congolese-born basketball player, has had a fascinating journey throughout his professional career. Drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 2016, Mbala's path has been marked by both triumphs and challenges. Let's delve into his current whereabouts and trace his remarkable trajectory.

Mbala's NBA Journey: From Draft to G League

Mbala's NBA journey began when he was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the 48th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft. However, he did not immediately join the 76ers' roster, instead spending time developing his skills with their G League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers. During his stint with the 87ers, Mbala averaged 12.6 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game, showcasing his potential as a versatile big man.

Venturing into the International Basketball Scene

After two seasons in the G League, Mbala decided to embark on a new chapter in his career by venturing into the international basketball scene. He signed with Hapoel Jerusalem of the Israeli Premier League, where he made an immediate impact. In his first season with the team, he averaged 14.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game, leading Hapoel Jerusalem to the league championship. Mbala's impressive performances earned him a spot on the All-Israeli League First Team and the Israeli League Finals MVP award.

Returning to the NBA and Signing with Sacramento Kings

Mbala's success in Israel caught the attention of the Sacramento Kings, who signed him to a two-way contract in 2020. This allowed him to split time between the Kings' NBA roster and their G League affiliate, the Stockton Kings. Mbala made his NBA debut on December 30, 2020, against the Los Angeles Clippers, becoming the first Congolese-born player to play in the NBA. Although his NBA minutes were limited, he continued to make strides in the G League, averaging 17.8 points, 10.4 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks per game.

A Pivotal Move to AEK Athens

In 2021, Mbala decided to seek more consistent playing time and signed with AEK Athens of the Greek Basket League. This move proved to be pivotal in his career, as he quickly became a key player for the team. During the 2021-22 season, Mbala averaged 12.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game, helping AEK Athens reach the Greek Cup semifinals. His strong performances earned him a spot on the Greek Basket League All-Star Game.

Current Status: Thriving with AEK Athens

Ben Mbala is currently in his second season with AEK Athens and continues to play a vital role in the team's success. He has established himself as a reliable scorer and rebounder, while also providing strong defense. In the 2022-23 season, Mbala is averaging 13.6 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game, helping AEK Athens compete for a playoff spot in the Greek Basket League.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  1. What are Ben Mbala's career highlights?

Ben Mbala's career highlights include winning the Israeli Premier League championship with Hapoel Jerusalem, being named to the All-Israeli League First Team and the Israeli League Finals MVP, and making his NBA debut with the Sacramento Kings.

  1. Why did Ben Mbala leave the NBA?

Ben Mbala left the NBA to seek more consistent playing time and a bigger role in a team. He felt that he could make a greater impact on a team in Europe.

  1. Which teams has Ben Mbala played for throughout his career?

Ben Mbala has played for the Delaware 87ers in the G League, Hapoel Jerusalem in the Israeli Premier League, the Sacramento Kings in the NBA, and AEK Athens in the Greek Basket League.

  1. What are Ben Mbala's strengths and weaknesses as a player?

Ben Mbala's strengths include his size, athleticism, rebounding ability, and shot-blocking prowess. His weaknesses include his limited range and ball-handling skills.

  1. What are Ben Mbala's future prospects?

Ben Mbala is still a relatively young player with room to grow and improve. If he continues to develop and perform well, he could potentially return to the NBA or play for a top-tier European team in the future.

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