In what's surely been the most heartbreaking decision yet, At The Hive has made its feelings clear — Bismack Biyombo is the least valuable asset remaining on the Hornets in our asset value countdown. Biyombo was tied with Brian Roberts for a few days, but pulled ahead yesterday with 30 percent of the votes.
I, like most of you, am torn. I desperately want Biyombo to pan out and develop into a consistent defensive presence with passable offensive skill. Unfortunately, his improvement, while noticeable, has not been what the team signed up for. Everyone knew Biyombo was going to be a project — some certain he was a bust from the get-go, sadly — and that's what makes this difficult.
The Bobcats traded Stephen Jackson, Shaun Livingston and the rights to Tobias Harris for Corey Maggette and the rights to Biyombo in a three-team trade back in 2011. At the time, Biyombo was an unknown commodity. Information on him was limited, and scouts had a difficult time evaluating him, evident in the fact that he was projected to go anywhere from five to 20 in the NBA draft that year. His physical attributes were impressive — despite measuring in at 6'9", Biyombo sported a massive 7'6" wingspan and showed great athleticism for his size. Unfortunately, there was uncertainty about his age, with some saying that he was 18 years old, while others argued that he was surely in his mid-twenties. In retrospect, that mattered very little, but it added to the hype and helped ensure Biyombo's selection in the lottery. All press is good press, as they say.
Biyombo does two things very well. He gobbles up rebounds like few can, and he has a relentless desire and knack for blocking shots. Outside of those two strengths, Biyombo's a bit of a mixed bag. He shows tremendous potential on the defensive end, but his awareness on that side of the ball is still inconsistent. He has a tendency to react too early on just about everything, which often gets him in trouble. He's also shown flashes of capable offense, but has yet to show consistency on that end, either. He'll show you a dream shake or nail a 15-foot jumper from time to time, but he'll follow a good play up with a bricked hook shot or travelling violation.
Still, it's hard to argue that Biyombo is a finished product. Chances are he's going to get better and while he may never be a starting caliber big man, he'll always find minutes in the NBA. His value lies in his defensive impact, which has been well documented (most recently by our own Chris Barnewall).
Sorry, Biyombo. We still love you.