Can Bismack Biyombo continue his renaissance at the Phoenix Suns?

Phoenix Suns, Bismack Biyombo. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Phoenix Suns, Bismack Biyombo. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

Veteran center Bismack Biyombo was a surprise addition to the Phoenix Suns last season, with the 30-year-old rejuvenating his career when few thought possible. His solid production was rewarded by the franchise with a new one-year, $2.9 million contract for the 2022-23 season.

But while last year saw a smooth transition into the best regular season team in the league, Biyombo will face greater pressure to perform in this upcoming season. With Javale McGee leaving for Dallas, and with Dario Saric an unknown quantity as he returns from a serious knee injury, Monty Williams will be looking for him to produce reliable, consistent minutes.

Can Phoenix Suns center Bismack Biyombo continue his career resurgence, or will he be cast in the role of bench depth with inconsistent rotation minutes?

Biyombo is a very limited NBA player which, despite carving out a nice career, has always been the case. His 6’8″ frame means that, despite having good defensive instincts as a rim protector, he’s never going to be a huge shot-blocker at this point of his career.

His physicality is what makes him valuable on both ends of the floor. He’s a solid rebounder, having averaged 4.6 boards in around 14 minutes per game last season. To put this into context, Biyombo’s rebounding percentage of 16.1% is just below Deandre Ayton’s 17.2%.

He’s a good roll man who can punch home dunks and finish strongly at the rim. That’s about where his offensive capacity lies though, which makes his value highly dependant on those around him. Three of every four Biyombo baskets were assisted last season – that’s a slightly higher percentage than Rudy Gobert who’s seen as one of the most offensively limited centers in the league despite his defensive brilliance.

That brings us to next season and what Biyombo could possibly deliver as a backup center. Put simply, he needs to have one of at least Chris Paul or Cameron Payne on the floor with him at all times. If not, you’re practically playing 4v5 on offense because the one thing he does well is eliminated without a primary point-guard.

The Suns were +15.6 in net rating when Paul and Biyombo shared the floor together last season. They were +9.6 in 164 minutes with Payne and Biyombo on the floor together, and only +2.7 in 233 minutes of Booker and Biyombo.

Phoenix Suns
Phoenix Suns (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /

Of course, there were times where Booker was out there next to Paul or Payne while Biyombo was at center. However, this clearly identifies the difference in value when he’s playing alongside a genuine point-guard.

When we speak about Booker’s evolution as a playmaker, this is exactly the kind of aspect we can look to as a marker throughout the season. If Booker is the pseudo point-guard in a lineup that includes Biyombo, is the offense remaining efficient or does the latter look like a complete liability?

Ultimately, Biyombo’s value is predicated on others. Offensively, he lives not even in the paint, but solely in the restricted area. He shot 75.3% from this range last season, while he shot just 37% from the remainder of the paint.

Even defensively, he’s not a supreme interior defender that’ll save you from a lack of perimeter pressure, but rather someone who can work well within an efficient scheme. He’s a lot like Ayton in this respect, with both players conceding a similar number of points in the paint per 36 minutes.

Next. The offensive playtype the Phoenix Suns need to incorporate more. dark

Biyombo will be given an early opportunity to prove his worth, although don’t be surprised if he loses minutes as the season progresses. Saric and even the newly acquired Jock Landale could prove more versatile options that provide a point-of-different as stretch bigs.