Whatever happened to Bismack Biyombo?

BY TREVOR GOULD, Couchsideshow.com writer

Despite consisting of relatively weak collegiate basketball talent, the 2011 NBA Draft class still had its share of skill and potential.

The Charlotte Bobcats spent the seventh overall pick of the 2011 NBA draft on Bismack Biyombo of the Congo. The power forward hasn't made an immediate impact though, averaging a little more than two points and rebounds per game. Photo by: nattydreaddd / Flickr

There was Kyrie Irving, the 19-year-old freshman point guard from Duke who only played 11 games but still managed a stellar stat line of 17.5 points per game, 53% field goal percentage, and 3.4 rebounds while averaging  27.5 minutes per game. There was the highlight reel small forward Derrick Williams, who powered the University of Arizona to the Elite Eight with his strength, effective inside game, and versatile shooting abilities. There was the shooting maestro  Jimmer Fredette, BYU’s virtually unstoppable guard who averaged a miraculous 28.9 points per game and who was named the 2011 national player of the year by the majority of the influential sporting publications.

As sports fans, we have been constantly hearing about how these collegiate stars have been performing on the professional level. Irving got off to a slow start but is beginning to steady himself; Ricky Rubio to Derrick Williams is becoming a potent offensive combination; Markieff Morris is providing some toughness and defense to the offensive minded Phoenix Suns, etc etc. Yet whatever happened to Bismack Biyombo, the polarizing Congolese power forward whose defensive abilities were being hailed as top-notch?

Coming into the 2011 NBA Draft, Bismack had made sports headlines for several key reasons. Firstly, the media was fascinated by his unique name and cultural origins. He hailed from the Democratic People’s Republic of the Congo, and first gained worldwide sporting prominence at the 2011 Nike Hoops Summit where he posted a triple double against the USA Select Team. There was also the alarming and almost comical fact that league officials were still working on determining Bismack’s legitimate age. In some of the pre-draft workouts and player evaluations, his age was literally listed as “18-25.” The third reason he attracted so much speculation and coverage was because of his superfreak athletic build and formidable defensive abilities. His offensive game was atrocious, but the guy could intimidate, hold his ground, and was a shot-blocking machine. He was initially selected 7th overall by the Sacramento Kings, but then his rights were quickly dealt to the Charlotte Bobcats.

So what happened to him? How is he adjusting to the NBA?

Bismack is currently serving primarily as a bench player, averaging roughly 11 minutes of playing time per game. He’s averaging 2.8 rebounds, 2.4 points, 47.4% shooting, and an atrocious 36.4% on his free throws. The one bright glimmer of hope is his 1.2 blocks per game, which isn’t shabby for a mere 11 minutes of court action. As Bismack grows as a player, it’ll be interesting to see if he gets expanded minutes, and what direction his stats will go as a result. After some surely intensive inquiries into the Democratic People’s Republic of the Congo’s official birth records, it has been verified that Bismack is 19 years old, which currently makes him the youngest player in the NBA.

I plan on keeping close tabs on Bismack, anxiously watching to see if his inherent physical gifts and abilities eventually translate into a truly dominant defensive force.

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