Bismack Biyombo, Center
Contract Status: 3 years/ $51 million
2016-17 stats: 81 Games, 6.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 1.1 blocks, 52.8% FG, 53.4% FT
PER 36 stats: 81 Games, 9.7 points, 11.4 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.8 blocks, 52.8% FG, 53.4% FT
This time last year Bismack Biyombo was the Orlando Magic’s big free agent signing. Biyombo impressed greatly with his 2016 playoff performance. He displayed the type of grit and rim protection the Orlando Magic were missing. Because of a spike in the salary cap, Orlando was able to throw major dollars at Biyombo(some would say too many dollars) and get him to sign with the Magic. Biyombo, along with Evan Fournier, are the highest paid players on the Orlando Magic roster. The high salary along with the Magic having Nikola Vucevic who figured to be the starter made the Biyombo acquisition somewhat confusing for Orlando. Biyombo’s numbers did not improve as the Magic hoped for when signing him. His numbers in rebounds, blocks and FG% all decreased compared to the previous season in Toronto.
This season will be huge for the Magic along with Biyombo. With Nikola Vucevic still on the roster, Orlando has to make a decision. Biyombo will provide a strong defensive presence in the starting lineup. He is more athletic than Vucevic and would be better suited to cover switches on defense. On the other hand, Vucevic is a better offensive option. The new front office of Weltman and Hammond will figure out how they want to construct this team and move on from there.
One thing that was obvious last season in reference to Biyombo, he’s a competitor. Consistently throughout the season, Bismack Biyombo gave 100% every night. His high motor and intensity are the characteristics needed to build a championship caliber team. Biyombo recently made some statements praising the Magic on their offseason moves to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel. Biyombo said:
“But at the end of the day, the moves they make, I think, was needed for us. We need some more fighters and people that really understand, and care about, winning. And I think they did that. You’ve got to build a winning culture, and we have got to continue to improve. And I’m sure all of the players at the end of the season were disappointed, but you take that in the summertime to improve and prepare yourself for the season.”
Biyombo is encouraged by the moves that were made. Hopefully, the rest of the team feels the same way.
Strengths of Bismack Biyombo
Bismack Biyombo’s biggest strength is his competitiveness. Unlike other skills competitiveness cannot be learned, either you have it or you don’t. That never back down mentality is the main reason Orlando brought Biyombo in last summer. During his playoffs run in Toronto, Biyombo had a number of plays stepping up to meet Lebron James at the rim. He even had a few of those plays this season with the Magic.
With Biyombo not intimidated by James and protecting the paint, the rest of the team know he’s got their back. He is Orlando’s intimidator. Furthermore, teams will think twice about driving to the rim when Biyombo is on the floor.
The competitive spirit doesn’t just affect rim protection either. With Biyombo hustling hard on every play, the things he does are not always comparable to his stats. The deflections, tipped passes, and ball saves are all part of his drive. Those are the things that get him on the court.
Weaknesses of Bismack Biyombo
The major flaw for Bismack Biyombo is his offensive versatility. On the offensive end Biyombo get’s his baskets from put backs and rim running. The cause for this lack of offense is most associated with his hands. While Biyombo does have very large hands, he struggles with catching the ball cleanly. During rolls or cuts to the basket, Biyombo often fumbles with the ball losing precious seconds allowing the defender to get into position. Outside of catching passes in traffic Biyombo has a rough time holding onto the ball to create offense for himself. With no real ball handling skills Biyombo cannot post up with his back to the basket often. In addition, when he does post up, it frequently leads to turnovers. Defenders trapping Biyombo cause him to pick up his dribble and force a bad pass or get stripped of the ball.
Areas of Improvement
Obviously, Bismack Biyombo has to develop an offensive repertoire so we won’t get into that. Another area that can be corrected a little easier for Biyombo is his Free Throw shooting. Biyombo made just over 50% of his free throw attempts last season, a drop off from 62% the previous season. With more repetitions and work with a shooting coach Biyombo can raise his percentage back to the mid 60’s. Being more reliable on the Free throw line will help Biyombo to stay on the court in tight games. The Magic would benefit greatly to have a strong defensive anchor on the court to close out nail biters. With Biyombo on the court shooting a low percentage from the Free throw line he becomes a liability. Opponents will use the “Hack-A..” strategy to put him on the line and keep the score close.
Bismack Biyombo has been one of Orlando’s most vocal players. Biyombo got a little taste of the Playoffs while with Toronto and wants to have that feeling again. There is no doubt that he will be one on the hardest workers on this team. Biyombo will thrive in this roster of defensive minded athletes. I expect him to challenge Nikola Vucevic for the starting role at Center early in the season.
Biyombo’s role hinges slightly on the success of Orlando’s back court offense. He will get an opportunity in the starting Center spot as the defensive anchor once the back court gets rolling.
Projected 2017-18 position: Reserve Center