Should the Charlotte Hornets Resign Bismack Biyombo?


Bismack Biyombo has had an uneven career in Charlotte, but this season he has proven his worth to the team.

With season long injury woes, the Hornets have had to rely on their depth to stay competitive in the race for the Eastern Conference playoffs. One of the players whom has played more than anticipated  is Biyombo. He has started 14 games this year after starting only seven all of last season.

He is also averaging more minutes per game, 17.5, than last year, 13.9. However, has the increase in court time correlated into an increase in production?

Biyombo’s field goal percentage is down, from 61.1% a year ago to 56.5% this season, but his points per 36 minutes are up, near double digits at 9.3. A year ago, that number was only 7.5. Of course, raw points does not mean a player is playing well. After all, we watched Kobe Bryant lead the league in points early in the NBA season while shooting under 40%.

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However, offense is and never has been Biyombo’s strength. He is a defensive player and rebounder. He scores inside and plays tough defense, or at least that is what he should be doing. His jump shot will never frighten opposing teams and he has no real back-to-the-basket game.

Per 36 minutes, Biyombo grabs 12.3 rebounds and blocks almost three shots. This year, his offensive rebounding per 36 minutes is at over five. That is a very good number, as DeAndre Jordan, the NBA’s leader in rebounding, grabs only 4.9 offensive boards per 36 minutes.

Biyombo can also score efficiently inside, hitting 69.8% of his shots within three feet of the rim, per As a comparison, Jordan, the league leader in field goal percentage, hits 71.7% of those same shots. So Biyombo is very good at what he does, even if what he does is very limited.

While he may never develop into what the Hornets had hoped when he was selected seventh overall in the 2011 NBA draft, but he has become an effective role-player, perfect as a team’s third big man. Every team, including the Hornets, needs a big guy to come off the bench to spell their starters, and provide some energy and paint presence.

Biyombo does exactly that. In fact, more than that. A recent article on, showed that Biyombo has a better plus/minus rating than any other Hornet:

"Biyombo leads the Hornets – a 15-24 team that has been outscored by 115 points this season – with a plus-minus of +52."

Now, that article was written on January 15th, so things might have changed a little bit. Nonetheless, that is a powerful number, one that speaks to Biyombo’s worth to the team. The tough part will be to determine exactly what his worth translates to regarding a yearly salary.

The same ProbasketballTalk article addressed Biyombo’s impending free agency:

"The Hornets can extend Biyombo a qualifying offer this summer to make him a free agent. That’ll cost them $4,045,894 – or, if Biyombo somehow plays 2,000 minutes or starts 41 times this season, $5,194,227. Really, Biyombo continuing to play such a limited role – he’ll surely return to the bench once Jefferson gets healthy – might help him next offseason. The qualifying offer, which Charlotte is more likely to extend if it’s lower, wouldn’t be a bad salary for the big man."

A guy that seems to play a similar role on a different team, and a guy who is also in his fourth season in the association, Kenneth Faried, just got a huge 4 year, $50M extension. Now, Faried is much better offensively, but the defense and rebounding are very similar. Faried is also not much of a shooter, although he is much better than Biyombo.

The amazing thing is that Biyombo is actually better at scoring inside than Faried. Biyombo hits 69.8% of his shots within three feet of the rim, while Faried makes only 62.4%. Biyombo also blocks a higher percentage of shots, 6.1% to Faried’s 2.3%, and rebounds better(19% total rebound percentage, Faried is at 17.2). In fact, the only thing that Faried does better is shoot from mid-range.

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From 10-16 feet, Faried hits a little over 36%, while Biyombo makes only 25%. So aside from a slightly better jump shot, Biyombo and Faried are near mirrors of each other. And yet, Biyombo will most likely not be in high demand come the off-season, while Faried will be cashing in on his new contract.

That might not be good for Biyombo, but it is certainly something the Hornets can use to their advantage. Bringing Biyombo back on a team friendly deal, say 3 years and $15M, would be a steal compared to Faried’s mega-deal. And yet, you are getting 98% of the player that is Faried in Biyombo.

The expectations may have been too high for Bismack Biyombo when he was drafted, but if you ignore those expectations and just look at the value the player provides, then Biyombo was not a bust. He is a solid NBA caliber rotation player who can be resigned on a relatively modest deal.

Good teams take advantage of the mistakes of other teams. Charlotte needs to take advantage of the rest of the NBA giving up on Biyombo.

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