Bismack Biyombo was one of the most wanted free agents after his successful stint with the Toronto Raptors last season when he averaged career-highs of 8 rebounds and 5.5 points while also blocking 1.6 shots per game. Even more important than his statistics, Biyombo was a force coming off the bench, making many teams believe he could join their team as a starter.
Once the offseason hit, Biyombo signed a 4-year, $72 million with the Orlando Magic and was supposed to be a part of their veteran-led core that would bring the team to the playoffs for the first time since their first round exit in 2012. Even though he is averaging 7.3 rebounds, 6.2 points, 1.2 blocks and .9 assists, he was supposed to be far more productive considering the minutes Frank Vogel was supposed to throw his way.
Orlando is now moving Nikola Vucevic back into the starting lineup, a job he should have never lost. Even with other quality centers on the roster, Vucevic had been on the rise since joining the Magic in 2012, and this year could have been the one where he proved to be one of the league’s best. With his significant decrease in minutes and touches, Vucevic’s numbers dropped to 14.4 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.7 assists this season.
The move to move Biyombo to the bench for the rest of the season may upset Magic fans considering how much he was expected to produce, but it’s obvious that Vucevic can help Orlando win more games than Biyombo can. Orlando should spend this offseason working to build their team around Vucevic, arguably one of the NBA‘s best centers.
Moving on from Biyombo in the future may be tough considering his luxurious contract, but it would be in the best interest of both Orlando’s organization and the center himself. The center from Zaire is better used as a role player where he can be the “energy guy” rather than as somebody who needs to produce each night for his team to win. Finding a contender in the offseason to trade for the big man would be tough unless they find themselves with a lot of salary cap space, so Biyombo may be stuck as a role player whose team needs him to be a star.