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What will it take to #BringBacktheBiz?

The seventh overall draft pick in the 2011 NBA Draft has yet to see the floor this season, and it is not the first time he has been left on the bench. What will it take for Bismack Biyombo to see playing time again?

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Those who have been watching the Charlotte Hornets this year have noticed an interesting trend — the consistent playing time of last-second free agent pick-up Jason Maxiell and the lack of playing time for former top-ten draft pick Bismack Biyombo.

How bad is it? So bad that Biyombo has yet to see the floor this season while Maxiell, a 10-year veteran who was signed just before Charlotte's Media Day, has played in each of the team's first five games. Bad enough that Twitter is now regularly seeing #FreeBiz and #BringBacktheBiz pop up every time the Hornets play. Bad enough that Clifford has multiple times this season, Clifford has said he would go to the bench more often during a game, and then would still not give Biyombo any playing time.

Maxiell's stats aren't exactly jumping off the page either — through the five games, he is averaging three points and 1.4 rebounds in just over 13 minutes of playing time, stats that look awfully similar to Biyombo's career stat line (4.3 points, 6 boards in more than 21 minutes). He stands just 6'7" and does not possess the defensive abilities that Biyombo has. So if Biyombo is considered by many to be the better defender, and neither's offensive game is anything spectacular, then why is Biyombo not seeing any playing time?

Shot Charts from the 2013-2014 Season

Biz FG% 2013-2014
Maxiell FG% 2013-2014
Stats per

According to head coach Steve Clifford, Biyombo is just not playing consistently enough right now.

"In the preseason he just didn’t play very well," coach Steve Clifford told Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer in a recent article. "When he has the right energy level and is thinking defense and rebounding, he has nights when he plays well. When he doesn’t do those things, the team doesn’t play as well when he’s out there.

"He and I have been talking about this for two years now – he’s got to be a more consistent effort, defense and rebounding player. ... His first two years (in the NBA) his team defense was somewhere between average and below average. Last year his rebounding and team defense became at times very, very good. If he can get those two areas back to that level, then he can be a very good player."

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Clifford also mentioned in the article that Maxiell is not only the Hornets' best one-on-one post defender, but also the team's most physical presence.

So clearly, Biyombo is underwhelming Coach Clifford quite a bit. Biyombo's preseason stats this year were pretty ugly, as he averaged 3.57 points and 5.43 rebounds in just over 17 minutes while shooting 36.4% from the floor and 60% from the free throw line. While we don't have access to practices, one can imagine how those are going if Clifford is saying Biyombo has yet to improve this season.

This also isn't the first time Biyombo has had competition for playing time. Remember Jeff Adrien? He and Biyombo played about the same each game on average (Adrien 10.2 minutes a game, Biyombo 13.9 minutes a game), including Adrien playing in situations that seemed handmade for Biyombo.

To Biyombo's credit, he seems to be taking it all in stride. He is often one of the more vocal and animated cheerleaders on the Hornets' bench and he is saying all the right things to the media, at least for now.

"That’s the coach’s decision. I’ve got to live with that and respect it," Biyombo told Bonnell. "But I’ve also got to get better. I think that’s what I always do and I’ll continue to do that. ... I have to keep learning, I have to keep getting better and I have to stay ready."

So to answer the question, what will it take to #BringBacktheBiz? From the sound of it, just better play from the center. Simple as that.

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