By Hamza Ahmed
Photo Credit: Mike Kalasnik
Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems: Bismack Biyombo and the value of 20 million
The Toronto Raptors by all means have had an extremely successful post season this year. They took out two quality teams in the Indiana Pacers, and the Miami Heat before bowing out against the Juggernaut that is the LeBron James led Cleveland Cavaliers. Much of their success this year came as a result of the break out play from their power forward Bismack Biyombo; who up until several weeks ago was pretty much a journeyman within the NBA world. However, as a result of his impressive play in the playoffs, (26 boards in game 3 vs the Cavaliers) he is in line for a big pay. With some estimates around 20 million a year. Although Biyombo seems to be well liked, and he gave his all for the team this year, 20 million is still quite a bit of money; and teams should wary of splashing that much out.
Biyombo spent the first four years of his career with the Charlotte Hornets (then the Bobcats) before being shipped over to Toronto. During his time there, his state line was nothing to run home and tell mom about.
As we can see here, Biyombo is a quality rebounder and shot blocker; but he doesn’t really offer anything else with significant promise. Even in Toronto, where he has posted several career highs, he is still essentially averaging the same amount of points. He is a player who thrives around the rim thanks to his athleticism, but if the opposing team manages to pull him out of the paint, he becomes ineffective. Not only does his influence in the rebounding department become nonexistent, he has no jumper, and no go-to post moves that he can use to his advantage. This essentially means that the opposing defense can sag off of him and focus all of their attention on Toronto’s offensive guns like DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.
In addition to the above, it is worth repeating that Biyombo was unheard of until his breakout performances. I can guarantee that the teams Toronto played in the playoffs weren’t game planning to neutralize his skillset. They game planned to stop DeRozan, Lowry, and Valenciunas, so this made it all the easier for Biyombo to do what he does best.
Biyombo has the tools to become the anchor for Toronto’s defensive unit for years to come, and at just 23 years of age, he still has a relatively high ceiling. However, Toronto’s Achilles heel for some time now has been the power forward position, and finding a big man who can defend and contribute 10-15 Points a game will elevate their team to the next level. Whether Toronto feels Biyombo can develop into that player remains to be seen; all I know is that with more money, comes more problems.