Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bismack Biyombo - 2011 International Draft Prospect Scouting Report

Bismack Biyombo
6-9 PF/C
Fuenlabrada (Spain/ACB)
18 Years Old


More international prospect scouting reports:
Jonas Valanciunas | Jan Vesely | Donatas Motiejunas | Nikola Mirotic

We continue our series of scouting reports on international draft prospects with a look at Bismack Biyombo, the post player from Congo who quickly emerged on the scene with his performance in the Spanish ACB and at the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit.

M. Haubs was on hand in Portland for the Hoop Summit, and - given Biyombo's potential to be a Defensive Player of the Year candidate in a weak draft - believes that Biyombo is one of the top three or four prospects available this year. Jay Aych delved into the video from Biyombo's play in the ACB and offers a different take. Here it is:


Biyombo's team in Spain, Fuenlabrada, finished a respectable seventh in the ACB regular season and was bounced by Real Madrid in the first round of the ACB playoffs. Biyombo left the team in early April, prior to the ACB playoffs, to attend the Hoop Summit against the team's wishes, and was not welcomed back to the club.

In 14 ACB games, Bismack averaged 6.4 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 2.3 bpg, 55% FG pct and 55% FT pct in just 17 mins per. Good numbers per minute, with those per-minute block numbers really standing out.

There are absolutely no questions about Biyombo's physical skills: 9-4 standing reach, 7-6 wingspan and 245 lbs. of chiseled muscle. And if he's as young as he states (or even 21), he will still likely fill out some more into the 250 lb. range.

[Note that Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress looked into the age issue, and came away believing that Biyombo is 18 to, at most, 20 years old.]

Compared to Kenny Faried, another high-energy rebounder/defender, Biyombo has the edge. He has four inches of standing reach and 20 lbs. on Faried. Plus, most importantly, Biyombo played and proved himself against much better competition than Faried (or any NCAA player) did.

Clearly, Biyombo is the best defensive big in this draft. Biyombo can immediately pay dividends on the defensive end in the NBA and projects to be a major defensive force in the future.

Biyombo is simply a monster shot-blocker--led the ACB in blocks, even with his limited playing time. No doubt he will be a helpside terror like his compatriot Serge Ibaka.

At the risk of an oversimplified comparison based on identifying characteristics, a la Dirk-Bird, here are Ibaka's numbers from when he played in the ACB: 7.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 1.0 bpg, 55% FG pct and 72% FT pct in 16 mins per. Very comparable, with Serge being a better FT shooter, but - surprisingly - Biyombo with much-higher block numbers than the young man who ended up leading the NBA in blocks per minute in 2010-11, and was third in blocks overall.

As much as Biyombo's ability to alter shots off-ball is great, it's his ability to change them on the ball that was especially impressive. Of the 21 charted defensive post plays for Biyombo on Synergy Sports Technology, he blocked 6-7 shots on the ball and severely altered 3-4 more shots. Nasty. Granted, a limited sample size, but still nasty.

Overall, Biyombo's post defense was stellar this year. On those aforementioned 21 post plays, his opponents managed to shoot just 22% (according to Synergy). Holds his position well, even against veterans, shows good balance and shuffles his feet well. Very sound in his approach.

Also, seems competent guarding outside the painted area. Shows hard on pick/roll and moves his feet well on the perimeter. Can legitimately guard both frontcourt positions. Though, he's not without his flaws defensively. Sometimes loses sight of the ball and has a tendency to over-help.

Biyombo might struggle a little adjusting to defending NBA talent, which is expected of any newcomer. But he will be much more prepared than any college prospects to defend against NBA offenses thanks to his time dealing with the talent and precision of many of the ACB teams.

Like Valanciunas, Biyombo is tough on the glass, particularly strong on the offensive boards (2 off. rpg). Though, Biyombo does not measure up to Valanciunas as a tip-in threat.

Not much nuance to his offensive game. His hands are suspect, has no ball skills, no passing ability and poor shooting touch. Can't score outside of 5 feet; pretty much just capable of dunks & lay-ins.

Did not have too many post-ups plays called for him, probably rightfully so. Scored a few times where he took advantage of the defender being out of position and spun to the rim. Rarely ever doubled in ACB play, but when doubled at the Hoop Summit, had no clue how to react.

Definitely has issues with turnovers--1.7 TOpg in 16 mins--which seem to be a byproduct of his shaky hands or poor ball skills. He's really not as smooth rolling/cutting to the rim as you would hope/expect. Sometimes takes too long for him to gather himself before he goes up with his shot.

Would not categorize him as a great finisher. If he catches the ball on cuts/rolls and he doesn't have a clear path to the rim, he can struggle to adjust his shot if a defender is between him & the rim. He's just not as effective as Valanciunas finishing in traffic at this point. Good finisher, not great. Also, he rarely makes contact when setting screens; I would hesitate to call what he does as "screening".

From what I've seen, I believe Biyombo is a top 15 talent in this draft. Toronto could really use his talents, but the #5 pick might be too high to take him. In play for picks #7-#9 (Kings, Pistons, Bobcats). Could make sense for the Kings with the possible departure of Dalembert. Pistons might see him as the second coming of Big Ben. The Bobcats are rumored to be high on Bismack, though they would be better served looking for someone who can score.

Utah is a possible destination at #12, considering they need to upgrade their interior defense. If he's still around at #17, the Knicks would be foolish to pass him up, considering he perfectly fills their interior defensive void.

I do understand the apprehension some NBA decision-makers have about Biyombo. Biyombo only has one season of substance under his belt, and that was only 15 games. And his rawness on the offensive end gives you pause. He needs a ton of polishing on the offensive end and he might always be a big liability.

But Biyombo's elite physical skills allow him to wreak havoc on defense and the boards much like Ben Wallace. And he's proven his worth against serious competition in Spain.

*--(Synergy Sports Technology provided data for this post)

More international prospect scouting reports:
Jonas Valanciunas | Jan Vesely | Donatas Motiejunas | Nikola Mirotic

17 Comments:

At 2:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice write-up. The similarities to Ibaka are remarkable. I always like young players who prove they can produce at professional levels as opposed to college.

You can always teach big men how to shoot (ala Ibaka, Garnett, Malone, etc.) but it's hard to teach shot blocking or defending the paint. Definitely sounds like a sleeper to me.

 
At 4:43 AM, Blogger MadBlaze said...

I think that using 240 minutes of ACB play as evidence he has 'proved himself' is a stretch.

He is too one dimensional a player to take over the likes of Jonas or Kanter. In the mid to late first round, where he was projected before the hoops summit, Bismack would be a great upside pick....in the 5-10 range? Scary bust potential if he is thrown minutes and responsibilities before he gets acclimatised.

One other thing, Serge didn't easily lead the NBA in blocks in the 2010/11 season, he was third.

 
At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ MadBlaze the article says that Serge lead the NBA in blocks PER MINUTE, but was 3rd overall in block shots. Read a little more carefully next time.

 
At 6:11 PM, Blogger MadBlaze said...

lol, the article was edited. Should've taken a screenshot I guess. Love it when writers can't admit they screwed up.

 
At 8:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on, many many many big men don't learn how to shoot. Most don't. If you are terrible at shooting and you're 20, it should be considered a long shot that you'll pick it up.

The mention of Dalembert should raise some ears; he's a great shot-blocker, sometime dominant rebounder, and stone-handed slag on offense. Doesn't really help a team on balance.

 
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