#7: Bismack Biyombo
After trading Stephen Jackson, Shaun Livingston and the 19th overall pick in a three-way deal that landed the team Corey Maggette and the seventh overall pick, the Charlotte Bobcats selected 6’9 power forward Bismack Biyombo out of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The day before the draft, Biyombo worked out in front of majority owner Michael Jordan (along with many other Bobcats’ big wigs) and that spectacular workout may have sealed the deal that led to the trade and the drafting of Biyombo at number seven. Still in the process of grasping the ins-and-outs of the English language, Biyombo spoke about that final practice in Charlotte.
“Yesterday I have a practice in Charlotte ,” Biyombo said. “That was my last practice.Before that, Michael Jordan says that he was so excited to meet me.He heard a lot of stuff about me. When I get to Charlotte , I meet him in person and we had a good conversation, and also, you know, they were waiting for the time if I might get to 9. And then, you know, some stuff happened, and they picked me up 7.”
An excellent defender, Biyombo has incredible athleticism and upside that made him a top-5 player on many draft boards. For Baloncesto Fuenlabrada in the Spanish ACB international league, Biyombo averaged 6.4 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 17 minutes per game over 14 contests.
Offense, on the other hand, is an entirely different story. This is a part of Biyombo’s game that remains unpolished and will need a lot of working going into the NBA. Fortunately for the Bobcats, at just 18 years old, Biyombo has plenty of time to develop that raw talent and turn himself into a decent player on that end of the floor.
Biyombo says he will play in the NBA next season, something that likely made sure Charlotte would draft him at number seven.
“Yeah, I’m going to play in the NBA next season,” Biyombo said. “There was something happened with the team, and we break the contract, so I’m a free agent and next year I’m going to be in the NBA.”
Power forward was certainly an area of need for this Bobcats’ squad and Biyombo brings size and some NBA level, lock-down defense that will meld well with Charlotte’s defense-first mentality. Biyombo has a chance to contribute on a young Bobcats’ team, and may even start over incumbent Boris Diaw at the four position at some point this next season.