This post is fairly pointless. We all know that the Jazz aren't drafting Biyombo with the 3rd pick and most of us know that I am not going to be able to change any minds by explaining why Bismack Biyombo will be so good. Chances are that you feel how you feel about Biyombo as an NBA player regardless of what I think. But i made a promise to explain what it is about Biyombo that I love and this is the last day that it really matters. I'll keep it brief. And yes, I am aware that Biyombo has a back problem that has come to light and is a medical red flag. May cause him to drop to 12.
Reason #1 The Jazz are drafting for the future not next season
The Jazz basically have needs at every position when you label the players as either point guards, wings or bigs. I know what you are thinking. "We have a lot of bigs, we don't need anymore." The truth about the draft, when you are the Jazz and truly in the lottery, is that you are building a team for 2-3 years from now. When the Jazz are looking at prospects they can't say, "what do we need next year?" It's shortsighted and only works if you are contending. And if you are contending you are most likely picking a later player who would be lucky to get 10 minutes a game as a rookie. But in 3 years Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors will be entering the first phase of their "prime years" as NBA players. But what will the rest of the roster look like? I think Jeremy Evans will still be around. CJ Miles will be around if he makes a big improvement this season and that may be it. Okur, AK, Millsap, Jefferson, Raja Bell and Devin Harris will most likely be gone. All of their current contracts will have expired by then. In fact, at the start of 2013's season, I would bet that Hayward, Favors, Evans and Miles are the only Jazz men who played for the Jazz last year. And the nice thing about those 4 guys is that they are all fairly versatile. Favors will be able to play the 4 or 5 in 3 years. Hayward projects to be a shooting guard, but could also thrive as a small forward if the Jazz had a pure shooting guard on the team. So the Jazz should never feel like they can't make any guy at any position fit into the 3 year plan of rebuilding the Jazz. Biyombo is young and raw and fits into the future of the Jazz.
Reason #2 The Jazz should take the best player available
Since the Jazz will have few needs met in 2-3 years, this is even more true. They can make whoever they draft today work with the team, without creating a log jam. So maybe the questions that should be asked about the Jazz's best pick today should be, "who would compliment Hayward or Favors the best" and "who will impact the game the most of all the draft prospects?" This is my thinking. I am sure that many of you have been listening closely to some of the draft podcasts that David Locke has been conducting. There was a professional scout on the podcast who not only predicted Biyombo would be an all-star during his career, but made a really important point. He said, essentially, that they guy you want to put next to Derrick Favors depends on what you think Derrick Favors will be. In other words, is Derrick Favors the defensive post player or the offensive post player? Favors luckily is going to be a defensive post player. But he is also going to be the "go-to" guy offensively in the post. One of the things I have always mentioned that never worked with Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson is that they don't know their roles. They both just take turns being the "scorer." I have always felt that Millsap is the better scorer and that Jefferson would be better served focusing on offensive rebounds and putbacks. But instead they both struggled as they felt that they were both main go to scorers. Neither of them were really willing to be the guy who just crashes the boards and makes hard cuts. I can't think of a team right now that doesn't have one primary offensive option in the post, coupled with the guy who does the dirty work. I think we underrate how good Derrick Favors is going to be offensively. Watch this highlight video and you may find yourself surprised at the repertoire that a 19 year old already has. I love how quickly he makes his moves with the basketball. When he develops a face up game, he is going to turn into an offensive monster. I mean, he got 7 points on 5 shots a game in 20 minutes. What will he do when he plays 40 minutes and gets 15 shots?
So in many ways, Biyombo will be the perfect compliment to Derrick Favors. Together they would make the most dominant defense front court in the NBA. But also, Biyombo would be forced to be the energy guy who gets his points without getting touches allowing Favors to become the offensive beast that he can and will be.
Reason #3 Biyombo fills the greatest need the Jazz have
The Jazz have a lot of needs. Let's not kid ourselves. But the biggest need is to play defense without sending the opponent to the line. The Jazz are always near the top of the league in opponent free throw attempts per game. This last year they coupled it with a very poor overall defense. This can be attributed to the Jazz's inability to defend the paint. Chris Singleton has been labeled as the best defender in this draft and I take issue with that. I do think Singleton will be a very good man on defender, but I think that Biyombo will be far and away the best team defender in the draft. Hear what ESPN's David Thorpe has to say about Biyombo's defense:
I like his nimbleness in defending ball screens and closing out shooters. Other than a few occasions when he stumbles, Biyombo has a smart and mature approach to the way he plays defense. He anticipates well and is not one of those shot-blockers who never wants to leave the paint. He has an advanced understanding of team defense, clearly coming from his experiences playing at such a high level. It would be fair to assume that his team in Spain would go undefeated in any major college conference in America, and that should give you some indication of the talent level there.
Many Spanish teams run complicated offensive sets, full of multiple screens and off-ball actions, yet Biyombo pings from spot to spot as if he's part of a choreographed dance routine. It's the kind of instant recognition required in the NBA to defend great offenses, but is rarely seen in rookies. Biyombo's learning curve in this area will be small. Of course, everyone wants to see him block shots, and he will do that in the NBA. Because he's good at getting good defensive position, he's frequently in the right place to make a play on the shooter. To get a paint bucket on him will require a strong lift and finish, because he eats up anything soft. If within three years he anchors a team that is a top 10 defensive unit, I will not be surprised.
Biyombo is more prepared than any college prospect to be a difference maker right now in the NBA. The next time you go watch Biyombo on a highlight reel, watch all the different players he guards. One of his greatest defensive attributes is that he can switch on a screen and roll and go out to the perimeter and guard the guards and wings in the Spanish League. I can think of less than 10 guys in the league who can do that from the center position and one of them just became a world champion last week. On day one, Biyombo will be a top 5 defender in terms of being able to switch onto guards. Like Thorpe mentioned, those are the types of players that help their teams become tops in the league.
Reason #4 He is a risk, but so are ALL the alternatives
Outside of Kyrie Irving and Derrick Williams, anyone is risky and unpredictable. You think Brandon Knight is a safe pick? I sort of agree, but I would also advise you to go look at Jerryd Bayless' measurements and freshman numbers at the University of Arizona. Enes Kanter? The definition of risky. Valantunafishsandwich? Buyout issues. The dreaded word...potential. If the Jazz are picking anyone not named Irving or Williams, don't kid yourself that it is a surer thing than even Biyombo. His rebounding and defensive skills mixed with his motor = at worst a fantastic rotation big. Fesenko with a work ethic.
Reason #5 Centers don't need to contribute offensively to make an impact
Biyombo is a horrible offensive player to put it bluntly. But he's going to get better. He has questionable hands, but he gets good position and his length allows him to either dunk the ball where others cannot, or at least draw a foul. Biyombo draws fouls at an incredible rate in his Spanish league because he is too long and quick to be guarded quickly enough. He is like Jeremy Evans in the fact that he will simply be able to go up and get the ball at a higher place than most defenders. But eventually Biyombo is going to be able to get the Jazz 6-10 points without ever having an offensive play run for him. He will score on alley oops off pick n rolls, by beating his man down the floor and by getting offensive putbacks with his length. But can a guy contribute without making an offensive impact? I think so, especially as a big man. To argue this point, let's look at other defensive bigs:
Tyson Chandler: His rookie season he averaged 6 points on 4 shots in 20 minutes a game. He has averaged double digits in his career only two years and never more than 11 points a game. He has never averaged more than 7.7 shots a game. That's less than 2 shots a quarter. Great defender, who scores solely on put backs and alley oops.
Dennis Rodman: Averaged 6 points on 5 shot attempts a game his rookie season. Averaged 7 points a game for his career. Obviously he was one of the best rebounders to every play the game, but he was fantastic while having absolutely no offensive game.
Ben Wallace: Embarrassing as an offensive player. He never averaged double digits even though he played more than 35 mpg 6 seasons. His best offensive year, he averaged 9.7 points on 9 shots a game. That's bad. But he was also 2 time Defensive Player of the Year and one year he averaged 3.2 blocks a game and 15.4 rebounds. That's dominant. Biyombo has promised to do that as well.
If Biyombo can lead the league in rebounds and blocked shots, he will easily be worth a top 3 pick in this draft. That's all I got for you, but let's continue to discuss the merits of Biyombo and why he would or wouldn't be a fantastic fit for the Jazz in the comments section.