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Home Country: Congo
Wingspan (because it’s incredibly relevant): 7’7. Yes, you read that correctly.
Scout’s Comparisons: Serge Ibaka, Dikembe Mutombo, Ben Wallace
Reasons to Howl: Biyombo has been fascinating scouts since his impressive showing in the Nike Hoops Summit, during which he recorded a triple double of points, rebounds, and blocked shots. As a defender, he has the potential to dominate inside, thanks to his otherworldly wingspan and his incredible athletic ability, as well as his burning desire to leave an imprint on every game. He leaps like kangaroo, runs the floor consistently, talks on defense, and, by all reports, is very driven to practice and improve. He does a lot of work on the offensive glass, and his thunderous dunks can be momentum changers, as he attempts to rip the rim off the backboard every time he elevates.
Reasons to Worry: One word: offense. Biyombo doesn’t really have it. Although scouts have pointed to recent improvements in his back-to-the-basket game, Biyombo’s moves remain rudimentary at best, and his jump shot from any distance is non-existant, though his alley-oops are undeniably exciting. Also, his eagerness to make a move whenever he gets the ball results in turnovers much too often and his passing from the post leaves much to be desired.
Also, while his zeal on the defensive end to make his presence known is admirable, Biyombo can get himself into foul trouble with his intensity.
Benefits to the Wolves: Last season, the Wolves’ defense was absolutely porous, dead last in points allowed. SOMETHING needs to be done to shore things up on that end of the floor. If drafted, Biyombo could be a gigantic step in the right direction. He’s everything we wish Darko could be: extremely long, extremely athletic (and fit), committed to shutting down the opponent in the paint, and able to run the floor on the fast break. While Milicic’s ability to score the ball is (slightly) more polished than Biyombo at this point, Biyombo’s commitment to self-improvement bodes very well for the young center. Remember: despite standing at just 6’9, making him slightly undersized for an NBA center, no player rebounds or blocks shots with his head; they do the work with their arms. And Biyombo has some of the longest arms in the biz.
Scouts have been saying that the T-Wolves covet Biyombo, and might well take him, should they lose out on the number one pick. But is it worth wasting a high lottery pick on yet another player who will never be a go-to scorer in the NBA? Only David Kahn knows. (Gulp.)
The Howlin’ Verdict: The pulse of the online Timberwolves community seems to largely be in favor of Biyombo, and I confess myself to be in this camp as well. Offense may put butts in the seats, but defense wins games, which puts happier butts in the seats down the line. It seems to me a wise decision to address what might be the Wolves most glaring problem with a potential game changer like Biyombo.
It should be noted that despite reports of this draft being low on talent, both Jonah and myself are yet to find and review a prospect that we wouldn’t approve of Minnesota taking.
Optimists? Why, yes. Yes we are, thank you.