A relatively unknown international big man has captured the hearts and minds of Pistons fans. For the last two weeks, I’ve been bombarded with comments and Tweets from people who want to see me feature Bismack Biyombo in Draft Dreams. The guy has a lot of buzz right now because he showed out at the Nike Hoops Summit, and Pistons fans were clearly paying attention. Draft Dreams is for the people, so I’ll stop denying the people what they want. Here’s your Biyombo profile.
Measurables: 6-foot-9, 240 pounds, F/C from Congo
Key stats: 6.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.3 blocks per game while shooting 55 percent from the field in the Spanish League
How would he help the Pistons?
Biyombo’s combination of age (he’ll be only 19 when drafted), size (6-foot-9/240 and still growing) and physical attributes (7-foot-7 wingspan) make him perhaps the most intriguing prospect in this draft. He played all over Europe and the Middle East trying to make a name for himself, eventually earning an invite to the famed Nike Hoops Summit. He became the biggest star of the tournament, registerting a the first triple double in tournament history with 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 blocked shots.
Biyombo has a NBA build already at his young age. He’s possibly the most natural shot blocker in the draft, something the Pistons are clearly deficient in. And pairing Greg Monroe next to a young, talented, defensive-minded center would give the Pistons arguably the most promising young frontcourt in the league.
How wouldn’t he help the Pistons?
Biyombo is certainly a bit of a risk. Before the Nike Hoops Summit, many scouts barely knew who he was, if they even knew him at all (NBADraft.net doesn’t even have him in their database as of my writing this). He has less than two years of professional basketball experience overseas. He also is under contract with his team in Spain, so even though he wants to play in the NBA, there’s no guarantee that he’ll join the team that drafts him for next season. Here’s what he told DraftExpress:
“The lockout is not worrying me,” Biyombo told us. “If there is a lockout, I can continue to play in Spain. I want to make a mark before I leave Spain. When I decided to enter the draft I spoke to my agent Igor [Crespo], and I said, ‘Igor, before I leave Spain, I want to put my name on the basketball court. So when I leave Spain my name will be remembered the right way.’ About the NBA, I still have time to be on the floor, still have time to work, still have time to make myself better.”
I respect the maturity, but he also sounds like a player who is in no rush to leave Spain before he’s comfortable. Maybe he’s talented enough to be worth waiting for if he decides to stay in Europe, but the Pistons also need immediate help through the draft if they are going to improve next season.
What are others saying?
He certainly has a long way to go offensively, but Biyombo’s freakish athleticism and NBA body immediately catch your eye. He’s only been playing organized basketball for five or six years, but he seems to have a feel for the game and is certainly a presence on the block.
Over the course of the last month or so he’s become one of the hottest names in the NBA draft, but only a handful of scouts and GMs had a good handle on who he was. Seeing him playing against future NBA lottery picks certainly helped.And they weren’t disappointed. Biyombo wowed all week with his toughness, athleticism, shot-blocking abilities, leadership and motor. He was a defensive powerhouse with a Ben Wallace-esque body and a crazy 7-foot-7 wingspan.
Biyombo, like most of the game’s participants, is listed at 18 years old, but he’s played professionally in Spain for two seasons, has a massive, sculpted NBA-ready body right now and looked like a man among boys all week, drawing speculation from scouts, fans and media alike about whether he is older than he lets on. Biyombo brushed off the age question in an interview with SI.com.
“I don’t care how old he is, Biyombo can play NBA-caliber defense right now,” one NBA talent evaluator said on Sunday.
That was the general consensus. Biyombo is ready now, his stock solidified as a 2011 first round pick, with the immediate buzz in the building included the NBA’s L-word: Lottery.