As the 2019-20 season draws to an end there are are four words to succinctly sum up Bismack Biyombo’s season:
He’s off the books!
As a 27-year-old middling center who can’t score from outside of the paint, Bismack isn’t likely going to be part of the Hornets rebuild. As the season ends so does Biyombo’s $17 million salary which will give the front office more flexibility to invest in the future.
After six full seasons in Charlotte we as fans knew exactly what to expect from Bismack this year - high character, consistent effort, limited offense, decent rebounding, capable interior defense - and he generally delivered. In 19.4 minutes per game he posted averages of 7.4 points on 54.3 percent shooting, 5.8 rebounds, and just under one block. That’s the capable but uninspiring Bismack Biyombo experience in a nutshell.
Knowledgeable Hornets fans have long since stopped asking if Biz was worth the No. 7 pick in 2011 (he wasn’t) or if his per-minute production justifies his $17 million salary (it doesn’t). Happiness is often a function of expectations. If the expectation for Bismack Biyombo’s 2019-20 season was to provide approximately 20 minutes of generally capable backup center minutes then he lived up to expectations. That’s not very satisfying, but it’s reality.
On the bright side Bismack’s 7.4 points per game this year was the highest of his nine-year career, significantly outpacing the 6.0 points he averaged 2016-17. On a Per-36 minute basis his 13.7 points per game was also a career high. And the Hornets played well when Bismack was able to generate some offense. Charlotte went 8-2 in the games in which he scored at least 12 points this season. His usage rate of 16.8 percent was also a career high which indicates he found more ways to integrate himself into the offense than he had in years past.
The best stretch of Biyombo’s 2019-20 campaign came when he started 10 straight games between December 10-29. In those outings he played 24 minutes per game, posted four double-doubles, and averaged 9.4 points with 8.9 rebounds. While that production won’t land him on the All-Star team, it was still a good stretch relative to expectations.
Rebounding and Defense
While his offensive game slightly improved this year, the most important elements of his game - rebounding and defense - declined. His 10.8 rebounds per-36 minutes was the lowest rate since his second season in 2012-13. His 1.7 blocks per-36 minutes was the lowest of his career and a far cry from the 2.9 he averaged in both 2013-14 and 2014-15. He’s no longer a springy, aggressive shot blocker patrolling the paint like he was earlier in his career.
The advanced stat Defensive Box Plus/Minus estimates a player’s defensive impact compared to a league average player and Bismack’s -0.7 rating, per Basketball Reference, was his first negative (below average) score since his second NBA season. His Defensive Box Plus/Minus score has now declined or stayed the same for six straight seasons. This continued decline is very concerning for a player whose calling card in the NBA has been his defense.
Assuming the Hornets don’t re-sign him, we wish Bismack all the best in the future. Between his two stints in Charlotte he’s been part of our NBA lives as Hornets fans for 391 games. He may have never lived up to his draft status or his contract, but he always gave effort and showed high character. All the best, Biz!
Final Grade: C
What grade do you give Bismack Biyombo for his 2019-20 season?
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