NBA Draft profile: Boom or bust is named Biyombo

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It feels all or nothing. No player in this draft has the pure boom-or-bust potential of Bismack Biyombo. No player has more fans who love him, no one has more detractors.

He could be an All-Star, a dominant big man in this league. There is that much in him. But he could turn out to be a player glued to the bench, never able to utilize all that athleticism. He is that raw.

In a deeper draft, he is a worthwhile risk pick around 20. But that is not that this draft. Someone is going to take a risk around 10 and that could be a massive steal. Or a bust. And we will not know for five years.

Why take him? As always with Biyombo, the starting place is his measurements — 6’8” but with a downright freakish 7’6” wingspan. He can jump out of the building. He is strong and chiseled — he passes the eye test easily. He looks like an NBA player.

After that all the questions come up. His offense is raw, in the real sense of the word. Biyombo failed to impress at the adidas Eurocamp. Actually, that is an understatement. Words like disaster were thrown around as he missed shot after shot (0-5 on turnaround jumpers in the lane). But he also showed off all the athleticism people expected. He is the definition of project.

He comes out as the leading shot blocker in the Spanish ABC league (considered the second best league in the world). He also was an impressive rebounder and got to the line a lot. Basically, if the category was about athleticism and hustle, Biyombo looked impressive. Any category that was about skill… well, tougher sell. He is raw and needs a lot of work. Right now he is an unpolished Joel Anthony.

The other question — how old is he? Officially he is 18 years old, but there are countless scouts with doubts about that. A lot of people think he is actually in his early 20s. Coming out of the Republic of the Congo, you can just make your own guess.

Biyombo has a world of talent and can come into the NBA as a backup big and have some impact on defense and on the boards. But as for offense, he has to be on a team where the point guard creates easy offense for the bigs (like Steve Nash does in Phoenix). He may well grow into a good NBA player — he has the physical tools to be great, but that may be too much to ask — but fans will have to be patient with him. There will be flashes of what can be, the question is how will he develop.

Boom or bust. We don’t know.

What we do know is that he will go in the lottery. NBC/RotoWorld’s Steve Alexander has him going No. 11 to Golden State, as does DraftExpress and Chad Ford at ESPN.

Tyronn Lue says he has secret plan to fix Cavaliers’ defense for playoffs

AP Photo/Phil Long
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Only one team that ranked outside the top 12 in points allowed per possession during the regular season won an NBA title. The 2000-01 Lakers, who were 21st in defensive rating, are the lone outlier.

The Cavaliers rank 22nd in defensive rating this season and have been even worse lately.

But Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue says he has a plan. He just won’t reveal it yet.

Lue, via Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

“We’ve got to hold back. We can’t show our hand early because … these are some good teams and we don’t want them to be able to come into a series and be able to adjust to what we do. We just have to be able to play our normal defense until we get there and then we will see what happens.”

Also:

“I think the rebounding hurt us. Rebounding. But it will be different once some other things happen. … Their two-guards, their threes, they still crashed the boards. But we have something to fix that. Just not right now.”

What precisely those plans are, Lue wouldn’t tell us. And here’s the other part — he’s not exactly sure they’ll work.

“I’m not confident, but we’ve got to” get the defense fixed, Lue said. “We have to.”

The Cavs ranked just 10th in defensive rating last season, among the worst marks for an eventual champion. But they cranked up their defense in the playoffs, especially late. Cleveland held the Raptors 4.8 points per 100 possessions below their regular-season scoring rate and the Warriors 7.8 below theirs.

Lue also unleashed a 3-point-heavy attack in the playoffs last year after sitting on the strategy through the regular season.

So, I have some faith Lue will implement a better defensive gameplan when it counts. It also helps to have LeBron James, who can still play elite defense when not in the slog of a long regular season.

But the Cavaliers’ defensive deficiencies right now are glaring. This roster appears to lack defensive potential, and their many miscues keep them well below whatever that potential is.

The challenge in elevating this defense to championship-caliber will be immense, maybe even unprecedented.

Mavericks’ Salah Mejri dunks while getting shoved in the gut (video)

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The Mavericks built a 13-point lead over the Thunder with 3:30left thanks to plays like this Salah Mejri dunk on Nick Collison.

Unfortunately for Dallas, Russell Westbrook happened.

Willy Hernangomez dunks on Andre Drummond, Pistons’ playoff chances (video)

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Andre Drummond and the Pistons couldn’t slow down anything.

Not Willy Hernangomez. Not the Knicks. Not Detroit’s plummeting playoff hopes.

After a 109-95 loss to the Knicks last night, the Pistons — who’ve lost four straight and seven of eight — are 1.5 games and two teams out of playoff position.

Terrence Ross 360 dunks his way back into Raptors fans’ hearts (video)

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In his first appearance in Toronto since the Raptors traded him to the Magic, Terrence Ross did what he has done best throughout his career: Delight Toronto fans with a dunk.

And of course the fans appreciated it, because their Raptors cruised to a 131-112 win.