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Hornets Bismack Biyombo Should Be A Free Agent Target

It’s been four years since Bismack Biyombo was drafted seventh overall by the Kings and flipped to Charlotte in a three-team deal and the 6’ 9.5” project center/power forward has been toiling away in near obscurity ever since. However, the big man from the Congo won’t be 23-years-old until August and he should be a legitimate target in free agency for any team in need of defensive help off the bench. He is only just starting to figure the NBA game out.

“The game has kind of slowed down for me,” Biyombo told Pro Bball Report. “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 has provided solid defense on one of the NBA’s better defensive teams. He 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.

The Hornets have a big decision to make. If Al Jefferson and Gerald Henderson pickup their player options, the Hornets will have no salary cap space with which to work and if they opt out, to keep them or find equivalent replacements will likely cost more. The qualifying offer to retain the rights to Biyombo is $4 million and on the 28th lowest scoring team in the Association, they’ll have to decide if they can afford to keep plowing more money into defense.

These are not easy decisions. Biyombo is young and still developing his craft.

“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 have worked hard enough. I am not surprised with how I am playing this season and I’ll make sure I come to the new season a better player, a better person. I am pretty sure people will be surprised because I still have a lot to show.”

However, after his first two seasons in Charlotte his role shrunk rather than expanded and while his own confidence and play seems to be on the upswing, his role off the bench was only garnering him 15.9 minutes per game last year. The cost of that qualifying offer is pretty steep if that’s the role the Hornets have for him going forward.

As hard as it is to envision a breakout offensive season by Biyombo, it isn’t hard to imagine several GMs being interested in wanting Biyombo’s defensive presence coming off their team’s bench next season if the price is right.

Young big men that can fill a role and have potential are always in demand. If the Hornet’s don’t bite the financial bullet and lock up their young big man, he’ll be a target in free agency this summer.

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.