On Friday night as the Charlotte Bobcats took on the Miami Heat in their second game of the preseason, they watched their prized free-agent signing, Al Jefferson, go down with a sprained ankle. While Jefferson hopes to be back by the start of the regular season, the Bobcats still have some glimmer of hope for the 2013-2014 NBA season. For the rest of the preseason, though, Bismack Biyombo will likely seem the majority of their minutes at center.
Jefferson is actually the second center to be injured for Charlotte, joining veteran Brendan Haywood. Biyombo taking the starting role in the preseason pits him in a situation that he’s been in over his first two seasons in the league and one that he hasn’t had much success in.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a fan of Biyombo’s talent and think that the potential that the Bobcats see in him is largely overblown. He has fantastic athleticism and works hard, but his lack of skill and awareness on the floor are too glaring of issues for me to ignore in the interest of potential.
Despite my disbelief in Bismack, though, he shined in his first game of this preseason as Charlotte’s starting center. In 37 minutes of playing time, he put up nine points and two blocks, but also put up a phenomenal 21 rebounds, including seven on the offensive end of the floor.
It’s hard to look at a 21 rebound night for any player and not be impressed, even if part of it was against guys trying to simply make an NBA roster. Having said that, the negatives that come with Biyombo were still evident. Even though he had a dominant game on the glass, he still shot only 3-8 from the floor and turned the ball over five times. He was able to use his athleticism and raw talents to be successful where that was all that mattered, but struggled still where his skill-level matters.
Good for Biyombo for coming out in the preseason on Saturday and having a big night. He works hard and it’s nice to see that success rewarded with 21 rebounds. However, don’t expect many big games from him overall from here on out or in the regular season. Until he improves his skill-level, games like this are anomalies and not the norm.