Thursday, June 16, 2011

The 2011 Rookies: A Raptor In Disguise - Bismack Biyombo Edition



So this year, the folks at Hoops N Hip-Hop will be behind a feature called "2011 Rookies: A Raptor In Disguise". Leading up to the draft, a new article will be posted up on the GamePointBlog and RaptorSpace, introducing and analyzing every rookie that will be within range of the Raptors' 5th overall pick. Though much is uncertain, we know one thing for sure, one of these players will be asked the question every rookie dreams of hearing: "Are you concerned about the taxes up there in Canada?"

Meet Bismack Biyombo out of Congo



Age: 18?
Nationality: Congolese
Height: 6'9
Weight: 245
Position: Power Forward/Center

Hoops N Hip-Hop Co-Host and Producer DeeJae Johnson



I’m talking RAW, and not about meat…I’m talking about being so raw that your upside is highly considered. When I’m speaking about raw, two words come to mind, Bismack Biyombo. Is this young talent a potential Toronto Raptor in disguise? Lets see. Biyombo is an excellent shot blocker, and rebounder. He has a very big upside when it comes to hustling on the floor and has been said to always be all over the place on the defensive end, which is a positive for the Raptors who need major help on protecting the rim. Biyombo’s length is a constant disruption to players who would dare come into the post. The only downfalls are that he will most likely play the power forward spot, which is currently over flooded, and he is to small to be successful at the five. Biyombo is also very young. At the age of 18, he will need to come in and be strictly professional in an adult environment. Weight and strength is a concern for he needs to fill out his frame a bit in order to see his full potential., even at the four. He would be a really nice pick up for a team that needs a defensive presence at the four spot, but we have a young defensive power forward by the name of Ed Davis who will most likely man that spot down for a while. If you haven’t seen it, check out his triple double performance (12 points, eleven rebounds, and ten blocks) at the 2011 Nike Summit.



Hoops N Hip-Hop Producer and Writer Rose Arcana



Why are these players who are barely getting playing time in the Euro-league and Spanish League suddenly making a b-line for the NBA? Or maybe the better question is why would someone rank B-Smack to go as high as #5? Cool nick name aside the guy doesn’t have a whole lot to offer besides defense and an unbelievable wingspan. With the days of Hack-a-Shack over, I guess a new era of Hack-a-Smack will be born.

It’s true, with the weak draft this year people have been submitting their names from all over the world for a crack at the coveted NBA. This 6ft 10in Congo native is no different. One thing this guy has that many Euro/Spanish players don’t have is a good defensive game. It is that defensive game and freakish athleticism that has gotten him to where he is today. With high hopes of a PF/C that can play defense you would think a team like Toronto would take a stab at the 18 year old, however recent workouts aren’t showing him to be nearly as promising as suspected. He is now expected to fall as low as 14, that could actually be good news for Houston, a team that would be able to teach and train the raw rookie more effectively.

Basically Bismack has an incredible body for the game yet little proper training. I have no doubt that one day he will learn to play basketball and perhaps even rival some of the better PF/C in the game today. My problem with him is that at this moment he is so fundamentally raw that he really needs to be taught from scratch how to play basketball. If I were Bismack I would hope to fall a bit lower than 14 even and get drafted by the Spurs. If someone like Tim Duncan was to teach this kid how to play the game paired with his athleticism, then there is no telling where this kid could end up!

At the end of the day it would have to be a no for Toronto. Despite Bismack playing for the same ACB team as Caulderon, B-Smack just isn’t ready to be a Raptor. Toronto needs workable/mold-able pieces, not something they are going to have to train from the ground up. Fact is the young man is not NBA usable yet. His body may be NBA ready but his skills and mind are not.



Kris Cuaresma's Conclusion

Strengths: shot blocking, good defensive awareness, high motor, among the top of his class in athleticism, elite wingspan, fights for rebounds, has displayed leadership quality, mental maturity

Weaknesses: no sign of any offensive game outside of 3 feet, poor free throw shooter, questionable hands, date of birth concerns, lack of experience

Allow us to introduce you to the curious case of Bismack Biyombo. So is he a mature leader in the body of an 18 year old? Or is he really anywhere from 22-26 years old and just pulling a quick one on all of us? Either way, what he eventually brings to the table as a rookie will be quite clear.

Throw him out on the court, and all the positives he may bring to a team will come in the form of pure hustle and athleticism. Blocking shots, grabbing rebounds, tearing away 50-50 balls, diving on the floor for an extra possession - these traits all come to Biyombo instinctively.

And then of course, there is the other side of the spectrum, and many teams will find themselves playing 4-on-5 on the offensive end. Bismack is basically useless 5 feet away from the basket, and the fact that he has shown bad hands means it'll be tough to get him the ball down low. But that still shouldn't be the reason you draft this guy. If you want someone to intimidate paint (he may be undersized but has an excellent wingpsan that will help him block shots) and basically just wreck havoc on the court, this is your guy. Think best case scenario Ben Wallace and worst case scenario Joel Anthony. Realistically, he lands somewhere in the middle of that.

Will the Raps draft him at 5? I doubt it. The draft is a fairly weak one, but there are much better prospects to be had at 5. If Biyombo is the guy the Raps are interested in, then the best option would be to trade down or acquire another pick in the top 10, maybe even 15. Like Kanter, I think one of Bargnani, Amir, or Ed would have to be moved if we pick BB up.

Where will he go? Biyombo looked like a lock for the lottery, but with his recent botched workout, it's all up in the air now. He could go anywhere from 1-20 as of one week before the draft. The earliest I see him going (other than Toronto) is at #8 to Detroit as a potential pairing of Biyombo and Monroe would be pretty nice. I definitely see him being picked up at #14 by Houston if he's still on the board. And if he somehow slips out of the lottery, I don't see him getting past New York at 17 as they need a shot blocking big pretty bad.

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