As I said in the Bismack Biyombo Draft Dreams post, I can certainly appreciate the passion Pistons fans are showing in favor of drafting the big man. It’s been a long time since the Pistons have had a defensive identity, and Biyombo is big, athletic and imposing at that end of the floor. But I also worry that that excitement may cause some to also overlook the fact that Biyombo is extremely raw and has little high-level experience, meaning it could take whichever team that drafts him some time to figure out what they have.
Biyombo had a workout in front of about 50 NBA scouts over the weekend (including, reportedly, Pistons representatives). Results were mixed. Here’s Scott Howard Cooper from NBA.com:
"The Biyombo workout was interesting as a rare public look at a prospect who has not played in months, after splitting with his team in Spain, and was barely known in the United States even when he was in a lineup. It just wasn’t good. The entire premise was a bad idea. Biyombo, a power forward from the Republic of Congo, is a stud athlete who blocks shots and rebounds. That would have come out in a game, where he could light up the gym by flying around the rim and overpowering opponents. In one-on-none drills, NBA evaluators got to observe bad hands and an offensive game that everyone agrees will be a non-factor in the league, all the way to a bad showing at the line."
But Bradley Thayer of DraftExpress didn’t make things sound quite as grim. Here was his take:
"One NBA exec put it best: “If you liked Biyombo going into today you are going to set aside the weaknesses he showed and realize that setting couldn’t have been any worse for him. The guy is not a jump-shooter, and no one is going to draft him to be one. You need to see through that. But if you came in here with question marks about him you surely came away with plenty more things to worry about. All in all, people who liked him will continue to, and those who don’t will as well.”"
So … inconclusive I guess? I think it’s a safe bet that anyone available when the Pistons pick at No. 8 will have a fair number of drawbacks to match his potential. Biyombo may very well fit what the Pistons want because his strengths seem to be more at the defensive end while others who might be available in that range are possibly more offensively skilled than Biyombo. But the so-so performance in the workout is a good lesson for fans who might be expecting a tad too much. Biyombo is possibly going to be a fine player in this league, but making an immediate impact for a Pistons team in need of an immediate impact could be out of the question.
(Hat-tip, Jonathan Santiago of Cowbell Kingdom)