During their current ten-game losing skid, the Charlotte Bobcats inserted second-year forward Bismack Biyombo into their starting line-up. As they continued to lose, it’s apparent that Biyombo hasn’t made much of a difference thus far.
Biyombo hasn’t performed at a high level this season. He was never expected to be the focal point of the offense, by any means. However, upon entering his sophomore season in the NBA, many people expected him to have honed his skills and become more dominant defensively and develop a competent offensive game.
Neither of those things has happened. In the 20 games that Biyombo has been active for, he is averaging only 4.5 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. The rebounding numbers are slightly improved from last year, but the points and blocks per game are both lower than his averages last year, even though he’s playing slightly more minutes per game.
More than just his statistics, Biyombo isn’t even filling the role that he was expected to be able to grow into when he was drafted. The expectations for Biyombo were that he would be able to grow into a Tyson Chandler-type role as a defensive anchor in the middle of the lane.
Instead of becoming an anchor for Charlotte, Biyombo has actually become more of a liability with his defense. He has been slow to rotate on help-defense situations, allowing either easy lay-ups or kick-outs for open threes for the opposition. His on-ball defense has been shaky as well.
On Thursday night against the Los Angeles Clippers, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan both owned Biyombo down on the block. Had I been the Clippers, I would have fed the ball to whoever was able to pin Biyombo down with a post-up. When the Clippers’ big-men had Biyombo on their back, he bit on every pump-fake and got blown by almost every time.
As the defense of the Bobcats has emerged as one of their glaring weaknesses during their losing streak, the expectation of inserting Biyombo into the starting lineup was that he would help tighten that up. Since he hasn’t I think that it might be time to send him back to the Charlotte bench.
For the even bigger picture, I think that Biyombo has a lot of valuable talents that are just raw and need to be worked on. However, I don’t think that is the type of player that the Bobcats need at this particular time when they are trying to build a rapport as a quality team in this league.
Since he does have a great deal of potential, though, I think that Charlotte should shop Biyombo on the trade-market in the coming weeks to see what they could get in return. I’ve noted before that the Bobcats could use a veteran post-player to help their team. If they were able to trade Biyombo and other pieces for someone that fits that mold, I think it would be in the best interest of the team.
Whether they trade him or not, Biyombo still has a lot of developing left to do before he should be considered as a part of the Bobcats starting line-up. Charlotte needs to quit forcing their hand with him and allow him to grow before they put so many expectations upon him. If they don’t stop, Biyombo will continue to perform mediocrely and fail to realize his athletic potential.