Rookie PF/C Bismack Biyombo has come under fire in recent weeks and has begun to be looked at by some, even supporters, as a wasted pick and a bust. Everyone knows how I feel about Biyombo, so I won't spend the time this thread deflecting every criticism thrown his way, because I do myself recognize his flaws. This will be an unbiased look at a couple of videos of him earlier in the year compared to now. Using my perspective as a basketball player, and not as a Bobcat fan, here are some pros and cons out of the 7th pick of the draft.
Let's start with this workout video that began circling the net a few months back.
Bismack's Private Workout Video
It's always hard to judge a player by a workout, but I will anyway. In this film, I see a mechanical robot on offense. I see nervousness all over him, especiallly the first few seconds. Think of the immense pressure he is under and look at the crowd watching him..........(awkward!!!). Either way, I see a player who doesn't look at all like he's ever played anything as a pro in his entire life. It's downright shocking that a league would be bad enough to have a spot for a player this raw to be running around. But hey, look at the NBA with Diop. Smh. Anyway, his footwork is bad, but not extremely terrible. Well, scratch that, for a big man it is. He doesn't do a good job establishing a firm base to work from. I'm actually convinced that the staff who has been developing him over the years has been teaching him to play more like a small forward than an actual big man (are we sure Tyrus Thomas hasn't been under the same tuteledge?). He doesn't put his weight and force into the areas they need to be in for him to have success establishing position on defenders. He needs to drive more from the hips than from the upper body. You're just never going to be strong enough to back anyone down with the top of your back. Not in the NBA. What I do like is the way he attacks the rim when getting an open lane. Believe it or not, a lot of big men, even in today's NBA, aren't polished dunkers and would rather lay it in than be put under the pressure of dunking. He has absolutely no consistency in his game though. That's one thing that seperates the booms from the busts entirely. If you're just going out there and playing likek a SG one day and a C the next, the results aren't going to be pretty. That's what I see from Bismack here.
Bismack's Preseason Debut vs. Atlanta Hawks
Interesting that Michael Jordan sees a lot of resemblences with Hakeem Olajuwan because I don't. I'm not sure exactly what age the Dream was when he was as raw as Biyombo, but he was definiately a lot more polished at the age Bismack is now. I don't really see him ever developing as smooth as an offensive game as Hakeem had, absolutely not. But on defense, I think he can become just as effective. Either way, it gives us a glimpse of the player Rich Cho and company are envisioning him becoming. However, here in the opening moments, I see a chicken running around with his head cut off, waiting to die (Have you ever seen that?). It's obvious here that he is extremely nervous. On offense, it's also blatantly obvious that he is completely lost and just trying to keep up with the motions. I remember feeling like that back when trying to learn the game. (When I was EIGHT!) Luckily, this is a flaw I think can be fixed with time as
all most young players struggle into fitting into a system early on in their careers. At this point, it seems that he has improved on where he gets his leverage from, but it's still not the hips. It's more like he's using his legs as stilts and leaning back on defenders to create an opportunity for a back down. That won't be successful in the NBA and will probably lead to a lot of defenders simply stepping out of the way and letting him collapse and travel on his own. Biyombo does do a good job of following the ball and keeping his eye on it though, never getting lost in the possessions chasing someone around. That may be due to the zone defense more than anything, but it's also a semblance of being calm, something I've rarely seen from him. One thing that has and will continue to make him an effective shot blocker in my opinion is his excellent timing, a skill you can't teach. He does a good job of stalking the ball handlers and anticipating when they are going to go up for a shot. He also does a good job of going straight up when challenging shots, which should keep him out of foul trouble in those regards. What does get him in foul trouble though are going for rinky dink steal attempts that he has no business going after anyway. He's got to learn how to pick his spots and that pick pocketing defenders is for guards. It's not a guarantee he will. There is a possibility he will be a foul prone just based off of impatience. He is a big body and eager to help out teammates so I'm confident he'll be good at setting picks, but with a limited outside shot, all he can do is hope the ball handler drops it in themselves or he is left open for a wide open roll. His numbers on offense will seriously be hampered by this, but maybe that is something he can work on later in his career. That will be a few years down the road at best though. What's troubling though is I'm not seeing a very good rebounding effort from Biyombo, but it seems more like a mental thing than a physical. Well, of course it is I guess (Hello? 7'7 wingspan). But half of the rebounding battle is having the awareness to be in the right spot. A lot of players have this by the age Biyombo is at if they ever have it at all. We may end up having to live with Biyombo as being an average rebounder for a big man. He also continues to show signs of a small forward here, trying to jump across the lane with the ball and things he should have no business trying. Again, I think I have to reiterate I don't think he has been taught how to play like a big man all these years. He is constantly out of position on defense here, but his amazing wing span will save him 1/2 the time. That's why I don't think his shot blocking will ever fall off. Most of his accomplishments now have been based purely off the physical specimen he is. A lot of people are hating the fact that we took a project player with the 7th pick, but don't realize that we took an absolute freak of nature in the process.
Bismack vs. Dwight Howard
This is a highlight film and doesn't display all of the flaws, so I'll keep that in mind as the positives are played out. As in the opening when Bismack scores but it's on a terribly weak, Diop like basket. However, one thing that I am excited with is that Bismack isn't afraid to throw up that hook shot. So many more big men could probably excel if they added it to their arsenal, but they choose to get buckets through short jumpers and putbacks instead of actually being classic backdown players. That's why I have such a respect for Zach Randolph and always wanted him on my team. But it's good that Bismack takes that shot. Even though at this point he's doing it strictly out of nervousness, the fact that he's doing it is the first step to getting better at it. Confidence. He still roams around like a lost puppy on defense, but his arms more than makes up for it whenever he is close to the ball. Bottom line, I think it's safe to say that he will always be a presence defensively, just based off his size alone. It's also good to see Biyombo flash to the rim, catch the ball, and put it down with no issues at all. I know that should be simple, but Kwame Brown showed me different last year. For that reason, I think Biyombo can contribute points every game he plays in. Easy buckets come to everyone eventually. He still gets the cheap fouls trying to pick pocket guards which he has no business doing. I don't know how much Silas is preaching to not get knick knack fouls, but that's going to be key to keeping him on the floor. On defense, man up, Bismack is strong enough to keep Dwight out the paint. But that's not an elite skill as several big men in the NBA are big enough to stop him from getting inside if he catches the ball outside the block. Nevertheless, every team needs a big man like that, no matter if he's starting or at the end of the bench, so I think Bismack will be in the league for a good while no matter how much of a bust he is. One thing Biyombo consistently does well is run the floor. Whether it's fast break buckets or getting back on defense, he is good at getting back down court and not lagging around like a lot of big men do. I don't think we can question his hustle at all. I'm confident in saying that Bismack will be a good defensive match up for any big man in the league with the way his length affects someone the likes Howard. His footwork is still extremely poor for a big man and he needs to learn how to hang on to the ball in a crowd and go up strong at the first sign of an opening. Otherwise, he will be plagued with 3 second calls his entire career. Something I like in this video is the swag Biyombo starts to play with towards the end. In these regards, I feel like it would've been beneficial to still have Stephen Jackson around so some of that can rub off onto him. The more aggressive he is, the better it's going to be.
Overall, hey, what can I say? I like Bismack. I'm not just looking at the BPM when I say he's excelled in that area, I'm looking at games like the ones above, and this...........
I know it's easy to think because I'm a fan that I'm just a homer for Biyombo, but he has shown the potential to be an elite shot blocker, at the very least. What I'm worried about though? His ball handling. He fumbles the ball around a lot like he has that weak wrist syndrome. Like a nervousness almost. I still see that to this day and don't know if it will ever go away. His footwork is still extremely poor. His bodywork is poor entirely really. As far as playing like a big man, I think I have more skill than him. And I'm 5'7, 155 lbs. But hey, I was a fat kid when I was little, so I always learned to play like a big man. Strong from the legs, but keeping your base in your hips. Bismack still keeps his in the bottom of his legs. And his rebounding is suspect, which I attribute to lack of aggressiveness and awareness more than anything. The kid has A LOT to learn and is still extremely raw but I honestly see him getting better each game as far as learning the game goes. Even though the films above don't demonstrate significant improvement in any area (despite the numbers against Orlando), it's been fairly apparent to me he has taken baby steps. What do you guys think?
"You're the Only One" - Black Keys