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2018-2019 Season Review: Bismack Biyombo

The 2018-2019 NBA season was a big one for Hornets center Bismack Biyombo. Off the court he was named Vice President of the NBA Players Association due to his veteran status in the league as this was his eighth season in the league. Biyombo made his return to the the team that drafted him back in 2011 via trade after spending short stints with Toronto and Orlando.

This season was an interesting one for the center. He appeared very sporadically throughout the early part of the season. Biyombo, like many other Hornets players, fell out of the rotation during multiple stretches or played in limited minutes. It was only until starting center Cody Zeller caught his yearly injury bug that Biyombo saw an increased role.

Zeller was out due to injuries from game-37 to game-52 and from game-67 to game-82. As a result, Biyombo was slotted into the starting lineup. He was fine to start the first stretch providing some much needed help inside on the defensive end, but never truly stood out. Biyombo’s game is that of a traditional big man filled with jump hooks and drop offs. He can make a mid-range J every now and then, but when he shoots it you still gasp for air. He also proved to be a great source of rebounds for the Hornets who were not great at that this season. Biz had multiple games of 8+ boards during his first stretch as a starter.

However, things quickly turned south for Biz. When Zeller went out for his second stretch, Biyombo crumbled. Remember when the Hornets made that late season push to try and make the playoffs? From game 67 to the game 82 he posted a negative plus-minus in every contest. The main problem is that the Hornets’ final schedule during that stretch featured teams that either play small, ultimately scheming Biz off the court, or had a center that was levels above Biyombo. Examples of the small ball teams were Houston and Golden State where Biz played a combined fifteen minutes, and the big men he faced were Utah’s, Rudy Gobert, San Antonio’s, LaMarcus Aldridge, and Toronto’s Marc Gasol.

This is the problem with Biyombo overall. He’s not good enough to contain better post players and he doesn’t have the skillset to play in a run and gun game. This makes it extremely difficult to know when to use him. He is certainly serviceable as a reserve playing against another team’s second unit, but as a starter it will not fare well for him or the ball club itself. Once the season ended, he had an arthroscopic surgery done on his knee, only after he picked up his SEVENTEEN million dollar option with the Hornets. See you next year, Biz, and get well soon.

Overall grade – C. He did a fine enough job of filling in for Zeller while the two have very opposite skillsets, but his style of play and overall talent makes it hard for him to produce consistently. 

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