Why Bismack Biyombo is a perfect fit with the Toronto Raptors


As a former lottery pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Bismack Biyombo was contacted by Toronto Raptors GM Masai Ujiri early in the free agency process and ultimately signed a 2-year, $6 million contract with the team.

Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun details that Biyombo is ‘pumped about being a Raptor’.

"“I’m excited about a new chapter. There’s a lot of me I still have to show and I’ve still got a lot of business that I haven’t done yet, so I’m looking forward to the challenges and I’m also excited about the team as well,” Biyombo said."

A native of Congo, Biyombo spent his first four seasons with the Hornets and while he never quite lived up to expectations, he is only 22 years old with untapped potential in his tank. In Charlotte, Biyombo fell out of head coach Steve Clifford’s rotation at times, losing developmental minutes. A move north of the border could aid Biyombo’s development and allow him to refine and showcase new moves.

Apr 10, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Kyle Korver (26) scores over Charlotte Hornets center Bismack Biyombo (8) during the second half against the Charlotte Hornets at Philips Arena. The Hawks defeated the Hornets 104-80. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

While Biyombo’s game on the offensive end is rather raw and limited, his prowess as a rim protector and shot blocker will help elevate Toronto’s defence, which was in the NBA’s bottom 10 last season. There is still room for him to grow in many facets and one of the most overlooked skills is his ability to rotate on pick-and-rolls and close out on jump-shooting big men.

Offensively, Biyombo is a low-usage player who primarily functions within the paint, which is a great fit for a team loaded with multiple scoring options. Most of his baskets have come from rolling to the basket or tipping in missed shots in his career. Additionally, Biyombo has shown a nice instinct in diving to the rim and catching passes near the hoop. With Kyle Lowry as the ball handler, the pick-and-roll should be a potent offensive weapon for the Raptors. Moreover, if Biyombo can develop a 15-footer, utilizing him in pick-and-pop options becomes another possibility.

Guys like Andre Drummond and DeAndre Jordan are below-average free-throw shooters and lack offensive repertoires, yet have still been impactful in games. For Biyombo, he can take a similar path by continuing to achieve high efficiency in field goal shooting and attacking the offensive glass. He was reportedly working on post-moves with Hakeem Olajuwon last month and those sessions would definitely be beneficial for his growth. There are certainly reasons to be optimistic for Biyombo’s development on the offensive end.

On the other hand, Biyombo’s defensive talents and activity on the offensive glass are vital skills. According to Basketball-Reference.com, Biyombo averaged 2.9 blocks and 4.6 offensive rebounds per 36 minutes. On top of that, advanced metrics clearly show that the Hornets were better on defence when Biyombo was on the floor. Via NBA.com/Stats, Charlotte had a pace-adjusted defensive rating of 102.0 when Biyombo was on the bench compared to 98.7 when he was on the court.

Given Dwane Casey’s emphasis on defence and Biyombo’s expertise in that domain, it should be expected that Biyombo will play a prominent role in anchoring Toronto’s defence. Combined with energy and physicality, Biyombo’s defensive-oriented game will complement Jonas Valanciunas’ offensive skills and help strengthen the bench unit.

While Biyombo was not one of the most hyped free agent signings, he gives the Raptors exactly what they need.

Next: Can Jonas Valanciunas anchor Raps' D?

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