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Season Report Card: Bismack Biyombo

PER PER Against (Net)
Bismack Biyombo 10.07 16.77 (-6.7)

Strengths: The one outlying strength for Biyombo at this point in his young career is his shot blocking ability. Bismack averaged 1.8 BPG this season, which was the same as last season. So, there wasn’t any vast improvement in that area, but it’s still far above average and remains the one category he can hang his hat on.

I would like to say that Biyombo really improved on the glass this season, but that wouldn’t be extremely accurate. He did average +1.5 RPG from ’11-’12, but the improvement is nothing to do back flips over when you dig into the data. In 27.1 MPG this year, Biz pulled down 7.3 RPG — his overall Rebounding Rate was 15.2%, which was best for 56th in the league amongst qualified players. Not that awesome, but nonetheless, it’s improvement.

Another strength I noticed Biz excel in more-and-more as the season wore on was in his ability to run the floor to both ends. He’s definitely a high energy player and did a good job this season in using that to get easy buckets by running the floor in transition every chance that he got.

Weaknesses: Unfortunately, there is a lot we could focus on here. For starters, Bismack has really bad hands and below average hand-eye coordination. If he could catch the ball off the rim with more finesse and ferocity, getting the ball to his chin quicker then I truly believe that Biz could yank down 10 RPG. The biggest problem lies in his inability to ever get balanced — when Biyombo leaves his feet to go after a rebound or go up for a shot, he always seems to somehow get off balance, which in turn affects the way he brings the ball into his body, or releases the shot — neither of which is the most efficient. So, one aspect that Biz must get much better with is establishing his center of gravity on just about every basketball play he’s involved in.

Offensively, there ain’t a whole lot to smile about. 86.4% of Bismack’s shot attempts came from 5-feet or less (‘Around the Rim’) and he shot 48.5% from this area — that’s -8% from the league average. Not awesome. I would like to say that Biz needs to find a go-to move around the basket, but first I think he’s going to have to develop some form of competency offensively.

Reasons for Optimism: Bismack is 20 years old and will be in Charlotte until ’14-’15 when the front office has a team option on his contract (highly likely to be picked up). His youth is clearly the biggest reason for optimism, because Bismack didn’t make any significant leaps on the court this season. Although this season certainly wasn’t the leap forward many had hoped for Biz, let’s try to focus on the fact that he is one of the youngest players in the league and has as good of an attitude/work ethic you’re going to find.

+ In Biyombo’s last 15 games of the season he averaged 6.9 PPG (49.4% FG) & 9.1 RPG.

+ Although he got to the foul line less this season, he did improve his FT% to 52.1% (+3.8%). So, there’s that as well.

Reasons for Pessimism: FG% came down -.013% this season and an improvement on the offensive end is what people wanted to see the most — well, as I said, signs of competency at least. I think it’s safe to say that didn’t happen — at least not on any kind of consistent pattern. Without going off on too much of a rant here, but also focusing on the fact that this is the pessimism section — I’m starting to become concerned that Biz will become nothing more than a defensive reserve specialist in this league and someone who’s job is to play extremely physical/protect the rim. Now, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that — Reggie Evans is living proof that this is an extremely valuable commodity in this league. On that same thought, though, I think it’s time to throw the Serge Ibaka comparisons out the door — for right now, at least.

Defensively, Biz hasn’t shown the ability to be an anchor inside. The Bobcats ended the season with a 108.9 Defensive Rating — With Biz on the floor the team was 109.0 — not really worse, but certainly not better.

At some point, reaction to plays in this league have to be natural and Biz simply reacts to the majority of plays noticeably late. Will that change? It certainly could, and I’m certainly not knocking his potential — the guy has a wider wingspan and longer standing reach than Anthony Davis. The physical gifts/tools are there, but does he have the natural coordination and reaction ability to be an elite player for any frontcourt in this league? The jury is still out and I’m beginning to lean towards ‘No’.