The Charlotte Bobcats had one of the worst frontcourts in the NBA last season, a large reason for that being poor play at the center position from Bismack Biyombo and Brendan Haywood. However, with the addition of Al Jefferson in free agency this summer, Biyombo and Haywood will likely be battling for minutes as Jefferson’s backup.
In all likelihood, Biyombo is going to get the bulk of the minutes as the reserve center. At just 21 years old, he is still a work-in-progress that the Bobcats will likely want to get on the floor as much as possible to chart his progress and see if he has further developed as a player.
With the Bobcats getting better and playing in the Eastern Conference with quite a few teams tanking this season, Charlotte could have their eyes set on trying to sneak into the postseason. Whether that’s a smart move or not is another topic for another time, but it’s a definite possibility. If that’s the course that this team is going to take, would Biyombo or Haywood be the better option to help Charlotte win games?
As I said before, neither player was very good last season. In 80 games, Biyombo averaged only 4.8 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks in 27.3 minutes per game on 45.1 percent shooting. In 61 games, Haywood averaged only 3.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 0.8 blocks in 19 minutes per game while shooting just 43.1 percent of the field.
There’s no denying that both Biyombo and Haywood are sub-par offensive players. Biyombo averaged just 0.79 points per possession last season, ranking only 384th in the league. Similarly, Haywood averaged just 0.72 points per possession, ranking 425th in the NBA. At this point, the Bobcats aren’t going to be looking for either player to set the world on fire offensively.
Essentially, the debate between Biyombo and Haywood comes down to their defensive impact. Though, Biyombo is touted as the athletic, shot-blocking defender, he was actually the worse defender of the two last season. Biyombo allowed 0.89 points per possession last season while Haywood allowed only 0.77 points per possession. Moreover, Haywood was actually one of the best post-up defenders in the league last year, allowing only 0.62 points per possession when he was posted up.
Haywood doesn’t have near the athleticism, youth or upside as Biyombo, but he’s a smarter defender. Biyombo is a threat to block shots, but he’s not great in terms of positioning and rotating while Haywood is solid in those aspects of defending.
Like I said, Biyombo is probably going to get the minutes as Jefferson’s backup with Haywood serving as the third option. However, if the Bobcats want to try and win games and make an improbable push for the postseason, Haywood may be the better short-term option.
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