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Raptors Ink High Potential Center Bismack Biyombo

Now that the Raptors have inked all of their other free agents and both of their 2015 draft picks,  Toronto was finally able to sign the the high potential of the 22-year-old center Bismack Biyombo to a reported two-year deal using their Room Exception.

Biyombo was drafted seventh overall by the Kings when he was still just 18-years-old in 2011. The Kings immediately flipped to him Charlotte in a three-team deal and the 6’ 9.5” center/power forward with the 7′ 6″ wingspan and 9′ 3.4″ standing reach has been toiling away in near obscurity ever since. After his first two seasons, Biyombo saw his minutes cut, but his rebounding rate and field goal percentage improved and this still very young center started to gain some confidence in his game.

“The game has kind of slowed down for me,” Biyombo told Pro Bball Report in an exclusive at the end of the season. “I understand the game better. I know how I can help the team on defense. Help different guys on the floor to cover weaknesses and help them play to their strengths on offense.”

Biyombo averaged 6.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in just 19.1 minutes this past season. On offense, he ran the floor and set solid screens, but he only averaged 4.8 points as his effective scoring range is virtually point blank. However, this very young big man is discovering what works for him at the offensive end of the court and when he stays in his lane and looks to get the ball to shooters, he doesn’t disappear on offense.

“I am really starting to get comfortable (offensively),” Biyombo said. “The game slowed down for me so much you know exactly where to be, how to set a perfect screen for a teammate to get open, how to position yourself to get the ball the right way. I am pretty sure people will be surprised because I still have a lot to show.”

As a defensive-oriented player on a team scoring just 100.1 points per 100 possessions (per Basketball-reference.com), Biyombo had an unfathomable offensive rating of 115 in each of the past two seasons. Maybe he really has been getting a lot more comfortable on offense, however, part of that surprising offensive rating is obtained because Biyombo is one of the league’s best offensive rebounders.

Bismack Biyombo skiesDefensively he is a top-10 rated shot-blocker, swatting away 6.3 percent of the two-point attempts while he’s in the game. He is also a vacuum at the defensive end, pulling in 22.5 percent of the available defensive boards over his NBA career. Last year the Raptors defensive rebounding vanished when Jonas Valanciunas came off the floor, this year Head Coach Dwane Casey will have a backup center that can clean the glass just as effectively.

Raptors President and General Manager Masai Ujiri is a huge supporter of basketball in Africa and Biyombo is from Lubumbashi, Congo and is one of six African-born players currently in the NBA. However, just like the signing of Canadian Cory Joseph, Ujiri isn’t doing the young man any favors. Biyombo is in Toronto because the Raptors need the size, hustle and energy this young man brings to the court. He will determine just how big a role he eventually carves out for himself in Casey’s rotation, however, his high potential suggests that eventually Biyombo will make quite the impact in Toronto.

 

 

Stephen_Brotherston_insideStephen Brotherston covers the Toronto Raptors and visiting NBA teams at the Air Canada Centre and is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

 

 

 

Press Release:

The Toronto Raptors announced Saturday they have signed free-agent centre Bismack Biyombo (Biz- MOCK bee-OM-bo) to a multi-year contract. Per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Bismack brings athleticism and interior length to our team,” said Raptors President and General Manager Masai Ujiri. “He has proven to be an exceptional rim protector and his physicality will be a great asset to us defensively.”

Biyombo, 6-foot-9, 245 pounds is from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. He is one of six African-born players currently in the NBA.

Biyombo has appeared in 284 NBA career regular season games, all with Charlotte, where he has averaged 4.4 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.6 blocks and 21.0 minutes. He ranked eighth in the NBA in blocks (1.8) in 2011-12 and ninth (1.8) in 2012-13.

He posted a career-high 5.2 points in his rookie campaign, 7.3 rebounds in 2012-13 and shot a career-best .611 (88-144) from the field in 2013-14.

He recorded a career-high 17 rebounds twice and had a personal-best seven blocks in a game on three occasions. In 2014-15, Biyombo averaged 4.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 19.4 minutes in 64 games (21 starts).

He shot .543 (101-186) from the field and ranked 17th in the NBA in blocks. In his 21 starts, he upped his averages to 6.8 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 26.9 minutes. Biyombo began his professional career in Spain (2009-11).

He played for the World Select Team at the 2011 Nike Hoop Summit where he recorded the lone triple-double (12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocks) in the event’s history. Biyombo was selected seventh overall by the Sacramento Kings in the 2011 NBA Draft