THE ETERNAL PROSPECT
BIZnomaly bizˈnäməlē/ – noun
- something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected.
“Did that awkward offensive player just euro-step through the lane, what a BIZnomaly”
synonyms: bizoddity, biznormality,bizaberration
Bismack Biyombo is hard to pin down. In one moment, he makes a block that no human being has any business making. In another moment soon to follow, he’s mishandled a clean pass out of bounds for another turnover. He’s not a bust per-se, in that no one knew what to expect out of the mysterious center prospect out of the Congo. He bounced around international leagues before scoring a triple double in the 2011 Nike Hoops Summit. All of a sudden he became a hot commodity. Huge wingspan, high upside, but he’ll need time.
It’s year four now and a lot of the same questions that surrounded him in 2011 still linger. Will the hands get better? Will he develop any low post moves that look more intentional than accident. Can he stay on the floor? Last year he signed an extension through this season but his future with the Hornets after that is largely in question.
When Bismack does great things it brings you out of your seat. THIS is still on NBA.com and should stay there for all eternity. For the fans’ sake, for the Hornets’ sake, for Al Jeffersons health’s sake, let’s hope he does enough to shed the prospect label and bring himself out of a seat on Clifford’s bench.
Doug Branson @QCHDoug
With the additions of Cody Zeller and Al Jefferson to last year’s Charlotte club, former top-10 pick Bismack Biyombo saw a huge decrease with his role inside the team’s front-court. Perhaps the biggest reason for that decreased role in the team’s front-court depth chart rested on his extremely raw offensive ability.
While that sense of raw, undeveloped skills remained with Biyombo during the prior season, he definitely showed small glimpses of improvement. Perhaps the best sign of that development was a more comfortable and relaxed demeanor on the offensive end. During his first two seasons in the league, Biyombo always showcased a sense of distress which lead to him being out of position or turning the ball over. As he transitioned to 2013-14, it seemed like Biyombo was more comfortable in his position as a 2nd-unit forward that can cut to the basket in pick-and roll situations, and be trusted to score around the rim.
Thanks to the tutelage of assistant head coach Patrick Ewing, Biyombo has started to show some a more developed offensive arsenal. While it was only showcased a handful of times during the 82-game season, Biyombo exhibited an ability to work inside the low-post, while also moving away from the basket and shooting 7-to-10 foot jumpers. It’s a sign of potential hope for Biyombo.
The outlying strength for Biz, and the side of the ball that has quite frankly kept him in the NBA to this point. His hawk-like wingspan of 7’7 and above-average athleticism are what made many across the league fall in love with this kid back in 2010 out of the Congo. Ultimately, the hope was that Biz’ physical tools would light the tunnel until the development adapting to the NBA followed. Well, it never followed, or at least it hasn’t yet.
Defensively, Biz can be an absolute menace when it comes to protecting the rim. Huge hands and the previously mentioned wingspan spearhead the effort at blocking shots. In this area, he’s had some awesome highlights so far in the league.
Vertical leap, extending his arms vertically, and mirroring the ball defensively are all tools that Biz has been able to sharpen throughout his career so far, but unfortunately those are very small aspects of the overall game. As good of a rim-protector that Biz can be, his court awareness defensive is poor. Biz has never seemed very comfortable with the speed and finesse of the NBA game, and that has consequently affected his overall defensive impact. Impulsivity has snake-bitten Biz’ effort to develop into a more trusty defender – patience and timing are keys to guarding in the NBA, especially around the basket. Unfortunately, he simply hasn’t garnered those traits on any kind of consistent level. Most notable example: leaving his feet on every ball/shot fake. It’s a very undisciplined way to guard in this league, and won’t last over the long haul. Yes, Biz is a great shot-blocker, but when opposing players have that skill scouted they will simply give you a shot fake to get you off of your feet and then take their time scoring around you.
Biz has got to develop a patient and more disciplined approach on the defensive end, to combine with his crazy length + athleticism, if he wants to see long-term success on the defensive end of the floor. The ceiling is extremely high for the 21-year old in this category, and there’s still plenty of time for this development to take place, but I think it’s safe to say that we would have liked to see more signs of improvement going into his fourth year in the NBA.
Spencer Percy @QCHSpencer
Dakota Schmidt @Dakota_Schmidt
While he’ll probably have a decreased role during the upcoming season, Biyombo showcased a lot of offensive improvement in 2013-14. Even though that “raw” label will remain on him, he showcased a consistent ability to catch the ball in motion and then get in a good position to make the easy basket.
Biyombo briefly showcased an ability to score in the low-post and from the mid-range, which is a sign that he still has potential to be a competent offensive player in the future.
On the defensive end, Biyombo has mastered the art of using his unique 6’9 frame. While he isn’t the strongest player in the game, Bismack has showcased an ability to stick with the vast majority of front-court players. His low-post work is also helped by some pretty solid footwork and ability to block an opponent’s shot attempt without drawing a foul.
Dakota Schmidt @Dakota_Schmidt
NUMBER TO KNOW
Bismack Biyombo’s minutes, and production per game dipped last season, but he still figures to be an important piece of the Hornets’ 2014-15 frontcourt. Jefferson will obviously play major minutes, but it will be important for Buyambo to make the most of his minutes and contribute while he is on the court. In one of the deeper Eastern Conferences in recent memory, depth becomes especially important, and BB will be looked to anchor the second unit.
Scoring isn’t Biyombo’s thing, and that’s okay. The Hornets have other offensive options, and as long as Biyombo can finish around the rim when given the opportunity, then he is doing his part. Where he can really make a difference is on the other end of the ball. A key factor to the Bobcats-turned-Hornets success late last season was their dedication to defense at a team level. Everyone did their job defensively, often making it difficult on the offense. Biz will have to serve as a paint protector for this team’s second unit, and that is where his focus should be.
Number to know: 2.0
BB has never averaged two blocks per game over his three year career, but he has come close. He averaged 1.8 per game each of his first two seasons in Charlotte, but that number dipped down to 1.1 last season; likely a result of him playing less minutes. With some frontcourt changes this offeason, he should have an opportunity to improve upon last season’s numbers. Bismack should aim to average 2.0 blocks per game this season. The number would represent a career high. Developing his defensive presence would be an excellent contribution from Bismack Biyombo for Charlotte this season. If he remains active, alert, and dedicated on defense, two blocks per should be attainable for the big guy.
Michael Kaskey-Blomain @therealmikekb
Stay tuned for the Hive Talk Live Take tonight at 6:30pET here. We’ll be profiling EVERY player from now until the beginning of the season. Next week: #FreeJannero Jannero Pargo.