Jordan Kahn is the new contributor to Hickory-High. He’ll will be stopping by sporadically to break down some NBA trends in video form. You can find more of his work at Basketball Things and follow him on Twitter @AyoitsJordan.
Mounting losses mean the Charlotte Bobcats don’t get a lot of mainstream attention, but Bismack Biyombo has been dynamic in his limited minutes. At this point in his career, most statistics won’t reflect his positive contributions, but he has been a playmaker on defense. Let’s take a look at the impact he has made on the defensive end this season.
Biyombo compares well to other elite shot blockers in their rookie seasons. The chart below shows blocks and fouls per 36 minutes for all of the players’ rookie seasons. These players came into the league as raw, athletic big men (some still are), and Biyombo’s blocks per foul as a rookie lead the pack.
Biyombo’s help-side defense has been impressive. This is a skill that he was expected to have right away, and he has not disappointed. His length (7’6” wingspan), leaping ability, and timing have made him a major threat to drivers already. The video below shows a few examples of his help-side shotblocking.
Biyombo’s game is not just weakside blocks, either. Biyombo has demonstrated flashes of greatness in defending the pick-and-roll. He shows a willingness to get to the perimeter to help his pick-and-roll partner. On multiple occasions, he has hedged to reroute the ball handler and then recovered to block the shot of the open man. With the amount of ground he covers, it’s like having an extra player on the floor. The video below shows some of his impressive moments defending the pick-and-roll. Keep an eye on how far he travels to get to the ball.
Biyombo has made mistakes in pick and roll defense; even veterans have a hard time with it. Fortunately, he has the athletic ability to make up for those mistakes. At times, Biyombo hedges too hard and lets the point guard split the defense; or not hard enough and lets the point guard turn the corner on him. The video below shows his great recovery ability when he gets initially beaten.
As expected, Biyombo has had his share of struggles on the defensive end, specifically in isolation situations. He is giving up 1 point per isolation possession (on a limited sample size) according to Synergy Sports. As noted above, he has the tools to become a good isolation defender. One correctable issue so far is that he’s making it too easy for the offense. The video below shows Amare Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer shooting open jumpers because Biyombo is respecting their driving ability too much.
Bismack Biyombo has a long way to go, but he has already showed game changing potential on defense. At only 19 years old, his development is something to keep an eye on.