As rare as Congloese players may be in the NBA, the Cleveland Cavaliers could be well on their way to having two natives of the lovely Republic under their club control beyond the 2011-12 season.
This past weekend, our own Kirk dove into a few potential international selections (Jan Vesely, Donatas Motiejunas, and Jonas Valanciunas) who could be available for the Cavaliers come this June. While most feedback about international players tends to be negative – after all, research is a lot harder than turning on the NCAA tournament – one player who went unmentioned is the very athletic and very intriguing Bismack Biyombo.
Standing at 6-feet-9-inches tall, the Congloese center has a 7-foot-7-inch wingspan and a standing reach of 9-feet-3-inches. Let that marinate for a second…
On the flip side, at 243 pounds and 4.8 percent body fat and 18 years of age, Biyombo has an NBA-ready body but is incredibly raw on the offensive end and admits his shot remains his top priority in terms of improvement. However, the long, high-upside big man has turned many heads due to his amazing athleticism and desire to improve. Most recently, Biyombo tallied a triple-double at the Nike Hoops Summit, scoring 12 points to go along with 11 rebounds and 10 blocked shots against Team USA.
It was not only the first triple-double in the history of the event, but it shattered the blocked shots record previously set by future Hall of Fame forward Kevin Garnett. As one west coast member of the media stated so eloquently, the second half of Saturday’s Hoop Summit became a contest of “Who can drive into the paint against Biyombo and not get immediately swatted.”
His ascents to the rim appear effortless, he dunks every basketball as the ultimate goal is to throw it through the hardwood floor; he’s not afraid to allow space in transition as his reach can more than compensate and his tenacity on defense could be just what the doctor ordered – assuming said doctor is one Byron Scott.
Biyombo describes his game as “intense” and “powerful.” His Summit head coach Roy Rana deemed the young big man as a “phenominal talent” who is capable of “spectacular things.” Even more intriguings is the fact that Biyombo understands his current limitations and attempts to make up for them in the areas which he exceeds – shot-blocking and rebounds, specifically on the offensive end – while working on his weaknesses when it will not hurt his teammates.
Coming in late during an overseas flight into Portland, Biyombo was given the opportunity to not practice with his Hoops Summit teammates in order to sleep off any jetlag. He declined. His impact during practice was immediate and his play in the Summit did not suffer as Biyombo continues his ascent up draft boards due to his freakish athleticism and high character.
Once deemed a late-first round draft pick, the Congloese shot-blocker is reminding scouts and general managers of Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka. The result is the possibility for Biyombo to go late in the lottery, a position where the Cavaliers could in fact be drafting given their acquired selection in the Mo Williams-Baron Davis trade with the Los Angeles Clippers. Having four draft selections in the upcoming draft (and only one expiring contract in Anthony Parker), the Cavaliers are widely considered to be a team which would acquire at least one foreign player with the ability to stash him overseas as he improves his game uninterrupted, flexibility which is of high value in the event of a lockout.
Coupling all of the above with the team’s desire to add post defenders, Byron Scott’s athlete-focused offense and a potential multi-year rebuilding process, Biyombo could find himself as the second Congloese-born player selected by the Cavaliers in the last three years.