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Season Report Card ’13-14: Bismack Biyombo


PER PER Against (Net)
Bismack Biyombo 14.8 15.3 (-0.5)

Strengths: I don’t know what draws me to Bismack Biyombo. Is it his overwhelming love of the game? Or his on-court swagger despite all of the inconsistencies in said game? Whatever it is, I’m ready to admit it. My name is Doug Branson and I have an unhealthy affection for Biz-Ball. When he checks in, I’m on the ready for a destructive swat, a powerful slam or maybe…just maybe…is that?…it can’t be…A BIZ EURO-STEP!!!

His strength lies in a wild card energy that compliments his outstanding defensive athleticism and hard work on the boards. In the right moment, on a perfect night, Bismack Biyombo could turn the tide for the Bobcats. That isn’t something every player in this league has the capability to do. His role was reduced this year with the addition of Jefferson and growth of McRoberts. The reduction in minutes allowed him to use that explosive energy and SOMETIMES avoid making the critical errors that have come to define him among some of the more cynical fans.

Weaknesses: I recently returned from a trip to New York where I managed to catch Of Mice and Men on Broadway. For those, like myself, who somehow managed to dodge this story in high school, Of Mice and Men tells the story of two friends, George and Lenny, trying to find work in depression-era California. George uses his cunning to overcome a lack of physical skill and Lenny relies on his brute strength to overcome a lack of intelligence and awareness.

Lenny got me thinking about Biz. Lenny has a passion for life, he’s rarely knocked off course. His brute strength is coupled with a great heart. But poor Lenny, he struggles to handle small things. For Lenny it was a puppy, for Biz it is a basketball thrown his way. Poor Lenny, he’s painfully unaware of the world that is interacting around him. Biz often finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time on defense. He’s still unsure of when to help and when he’s no help at all.

All of the strengths I mentioned above come with big caveats. In the end, that’s what Biz is. He’s a big ol’caveat.

Reasons For Optimism:  Look at his picture, above. HOW CAN YOU BE ANGRY WITH THAT FACE?! Fans, including myself, can’t help but want to see this guys succeed. Biyombo is 21 years young without an injury history. His role off the bench as a rim protector played no small part in our team’s ability to maintain a consistently great defense into 2014. He also showed off some serious explosiveness towards the rim and carved out a role as a tough rebounder. He won’t be dealing with any coaching change, drastic scheme change, or (God-willing) significant shift in minutes. Continuity could be Biyombo’s best friend and finally help the young man turn the corner offensively in 2015.

Reasons For Pessimism: Among his offensive struggles are shooting, dribbling, passing but most of all moving without the basketball. He can’t seem to position himself in a way where he’s available for a cutting guard. Defenses can routinely afford to ignore him and double down on drives through the lane. Can this kind of thing be learned, trained away or is it simply an innate sense of basketball fluidity that Biz doesn’t possess? And I’m sorry but I don’t buy the argument that his defense and rebounding abilities allow him to be a complete non-factor on offense.

This Deadspin article outlines the greatest reason to be pessimistic about poor Biz. The ball is not finding its way to the big man in what one could easily reason as a lack of faith amongst teammates. For those who recall the ending to “Of Mice and Men, we know what happens when George loses faith in poor Lenny.

— Stats for this article were compiled from 82games.com