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QCH Player Preview: Bismack Biyombo

The frontcourt has added Cody Zeller, Al Jefferson and Anthony Tolliver. Charlotte also resigned Josh McRoberts, but it’s still time for Biz to turn a corner and prove that he’s at least a player that deserves to be in a rotation in this league.

Charlotte has until the end of the month to decide whether or not they’ll pick up the team option on Biz’ rookie deal worth roughly $3.8 million — it’s highly probable that the option will be picked up by the Bobcats, but the fact that the question is even being asked by some is slightly bothersome. And should be. Biz still has value in this league — part because he has a 7’5 wingspan and has the potential to be an elite rim defender in this league. Also, Biz just turned 21 years old in August — plenty of time left to blossom. This somewhat segway’s into my next point: If nothing else, Charlotte will keep persisting through the Biz experiment for another season due to the fact that he certainly still has trade value. Not sure this is a guy who will ever justify being the 7th overall selection, but he still has respectable stock in this league. That being said, I trust that Cho will be smart on capitalizing on his value somehow, whether or not that means Biz playing in Charlotte through his entire rookie deal.

Pessimism —

Well, the obvious. The guy is offensively handicapped. In fact, when Biz tries to catch the ball around the block, many times it resembles what me catching a medicine ball would look like. This is fascinating too, considering how solid he makes his hand-eye coordination look when blocking shots on the defensive end.

To me, Biz plays like a guy who still hasn’t adjusted to the speed of the game in the NBA — offensively, at least. He’s very timid with the ball and is a deer in headlights at the sight of the ball being thrown to him. One shooting stat that sums up a lot with just how stunted his growth is on the offensive end — Among qualified bigs that attempted at least 100 layups last season (via Tom Haberstroh — ESPN Insider), Biz was 2nd worst in the league with a 44.2% mark. Only Roy Hibbert was worse at 43.6%.

— Tom Haberstroh — ESPN Insider

Another important note: Among the hundreds of players in NBA history who played at least 2,000 minutes in their sophomore season, Biyombo had the third-lowest scoring rate per 36 minutes (6.4 points). That says as much about the situation in Charlotte as it does Biyombo’s development, but it’s still not a good sign that Biyombo still can’t buy a bucket. The Bobcats can’t afford to have a top-10 pick turn into a better-rebounding Joel Anthony.

Last season, Biz was a mediocre rebounder at best — his 15.2 rebounding rate was good for 56th in the league among qualified players. He’s not significantly stronger on the offensive or defensive glass either — both need immense improvement.

The most alarming statistic for Biz, to me, is his turnover ratio of 15.6 — this ranked 78th out of 80 qualified power forwards in the league last season. Oh, and to shove your face further in the dirt, consider this — Biz was dead last (80th) in the NBA in usage rate among Power Forwards at 9.2, but he had the 3rd highest turnover ratio. Folks, that defines a player that really shouldn’t be touching the ball. Like, at all.

Optimism —

Two words — Rim Protector. If nothing else in this kids career, he’s always going to have to be way above average in this category. What makes Biz so successful at blocking shots? Two things: 1) He’s got a 7’5 wingspan, and 2) Biz contests shots with both of his hands most of the time, giving the offensive player no angle to adjust and mimicking a motion similar to a standing high jump.

Last season, Biz averaged 2.4 blocks/36 min — best for 24th in the league. Would expect that ranking to be a little bit better, but none the less solid.

Pick-and-roll defense certainly isn’t one of Biz’ strengths, but since I’m in the category of optimism I’ll point out how he can really improve here. For starters, he’s simply got to react quicker to getting out to hedge on the PnR — that’s as simple as recognizing when the action is coming + communication between teammates (which has been awful as a team). Secondly, use your 7’5 wingspan! What a tool his lengthy arms should be in PnR coverage — covering wider area in not allowing ball handler to get around him + taking away air space/passing lanes for with long arms in recovery.

So, unfortunately there’s not a whole lot of extremely positives factors in Biz’ development to this point, but hope is still there. Very young, freaky physical specimen + a great work ethic make for a guy who could still certainly develop into something nice, but there’s a long road ahead.