The Charlotte Bobcats were well aware that they were taking a gamble when they used the seventh-overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, acquired through a trade, to select Bismack Biyombo. After all, this is a guy who was unknown until he was 16 years old and played only two seasons in Spain before being drafted.
There’s no denying the attractive things about Biyombo as a basketball player. He’s built strongly at 6’9” and 245 pounds. He has bursting athleticism. And you can’t forget his amazing 7’6” wingspan that looks like a gift from the shot-blocking gods.
Coming into that draft, his best case scenario was described by Draft Express as a “smaller, poor man’s Dwight Howard.” That projection alone doesn’t seem like it warrants being drafted seventh-overall. Then, considering that Biyombo hasn’t even come close to that paltry projection in his young career, that pick looks even worse.
Biyombo struggled last season with the Bobcats, even after he earned a role in the starting-lineup and started 41 games. He averaged only 5.2 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game. He also only shot 46.4 percent from the floor and a measly 48.3 percent from the foul-stripe. But he was only a 19-year-old rookie; he still had room to grow.
Which is what he was expected to do this season. He was supposed to develop into a reliable rebounder, defender and provide efficient offense when necessary. The problem is that he hasn’t grown hardly at all.
Through 34 games in the 2012-2013 NBA season, Biyombo is averaging only 4.8 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. And that’s while he’s playing two more minutes per game this year. Then you factor in his continued struggles from the free-throw line, shooting 51.4 percent, and from the field, shooting 46.3 percent, it becomes apparent that Biyombo has not only failed to improve much, but has even regressed in some areas.
But for some reason, Charlotte continues to run him out on the floor in the hopes that he might develop into the player they need him to be. They don’t even need him to be a ferocious offensive player. They need him to be efficient on that end and they need him to be a defensive stalwart. He’s not been those things, though.
When the Bobcats played the Miami Heat on Dec. 26, there was a play that encapsulated what Biyombo has been this season.
While Charlotte’s home announcing team talked about the defensive-stopper Biyombo was supposed to be, Chris Bosh posted-up Biyombo and received the entry pass. Bosh put up a simple ball fake to his right side. Biyombo jumped as high as he could toward the fake, flailing his long arms trying to block it. Bosh then turned to his left for an easy lay-up.
That’s what Biyombo has been for the Bobcats. He’s a guy with obvious potential and expectations, but with little-to-no results. And that’s why Charlotte has to make a strong decision regarding him.
Biyombo still has a chance to become a poor-man’s Dwight Howard. But it seems apparent that isn’t going to happen in Charlotte. They don’t have much of a choice but to play him at the moment with Byron Mullens out with an ankle injury and a subpar frontcourt.
However, as soon as they can, they either need to bury Biyombo on the bench or trade him for other pieces that could potentially help their team. This team has talent and is making moves in the right direction. But Biyombo isn’t helping their cause. In fact, he’s hurting it.