Bismack Biyombo wasn’t drafted to be an offensive stalwart. Ever. The Charlotte Bobcats and everyone else in the NBA world knew exactly what Biyombo was: a defensive stopper with no real hope of developing consistent offensive skills.
And if they stick to their first notion and don’t expect too much out of him on the side of the court where they get points, then they’ll probably find a success story.
The beautiful thing about Biyombo is that, aside from his offensive deficiencies, he has a ton of untapped potential in general – most specifically on the defensive end of the floor.
As a rookie in 2011-12, he went through a lockout shortened season, didn’t have a regular summer and training camp, and didn’t get the natural rookie development one usually gets before hitting the court for the regular season. That, and he played for a pretty bad basketball team.
Despite everything working against him (again, toss in his inability to play offense effectively), and he came away impressing just about anyone who watched him. On the year Biyombo averaged a stellar 1.8 blocks per game, 5.2 points per game, 5.8 rebounds per game, and actually managed to convert on a very respectable 46.4% of his shot attempts. All of this happened in his rookie season, with just 23 minutes per game on the floor.
Biyombo was slow to develop early on, but after being thrust into the starting lineup back in February, he’s taken hold of the starting center spot and hasn’t really looked back. With his size, strength and wing span, Biyombo is at the very worst a shot-blocker and effective rebounder, while his presence will also force offensive players to alter shots or turn the ball over.
Biyombo is still light years away from even upgrading up from “offensive liability”, but he looked much better in that area as a rookie than many imagined. And the best part was, while his offensive skills were still lacking, he lived up to the hype in every other area he was scouted to be effective in.
Going forward, Biyombo still has loads of untapped potential on the defense end, and if he can somehow mold into even a Ben Wallace-type offensive player, he should be able to be a cemented force for the Bobcats to lean on for years to come. For a young team that isn’t expected to pour it on thick on offense, having an elite defensive presence in the paint is a great stepping stone to finding an identity and competing with better teams. Biyombo appears to be giving Charlotte a chance to do that, and the better he gets, the better they should get, as well.
I don’t see a smooth transition completely in just his second season, but you have to admit that a normal NBA off-season is going to work wonders for him, while starting from day one and getting consistent minutes will help him with his own consistency. Look for a rise in numbers across the board as Biyombo gets more comfortable with each passing month in the 2012-13 NBA season.
Making a huge difference in just his second season as an NBA player is one thing, but coming up big in fantasy basketball is another. For one thing, it’s generally easier. Biyombo is never going to be a reliable offensive threat. He just doesn’t have the range or touch on his jumper, and he doesn’t have enough reliable post moves. His percentages and touches aren’t good or consistent, either, so you can forget about it. His 5.2 points per game as a rookie was a nice surprise, but 5-7 points per game should be his expected cap for the near future, unless he blows up in his development.
With all of that said, he can still be a major fantasy asset based off of what we all witnessed in his rookie year. If for some reason Biyombo had his minutes doubled (to 36 per game) and he stayed out of foul trouble and wasn’t too much of an offensive liability, his numbers could hypothetically jump (or double) to about 10 points per game, 10 boards, and about 3.6 blocks per game. I don’t think the points would jump that high, but you get the idea. If his minutes see a major increase, as they probably should, Biyombo could double his rookie production and be averaging about 20-28 points per game. That’s probably his ceiling, but that’s a very nice ceiling for a guy floating under the radar and with no offensive game to speak of.
If you look back to last year, Biyombo was an absolute blocking machine. He literally ended his season with a block in his final 11 contests, and had two or more blocks in his final 10 games. In fact, he finished the year with a sensational five-block game against the New York Knicks.
Biyombo responded well enough when given large amounts of minutes in his rookie year. He committed too many fouls, turned the ball over a bit too much and appeared gassed at times, but he was a rookie on a bad team. He’ll be better in his second season, which should mean good things for the Bobcats and your fantasy basketball team.