In his second NBA season, Bismack Biyombo took huge strides and is starting to realize some of his potential.
A year ago Paul Silas, then the Charlotte Bobcats (21-61) head coach, praised Bismack Biyombo's work ethic and expected the Congolese to do better this season and become a household name in the NBA.
Silas got it right. The 20-year-old improved some aspects of his game; became a starter; increased his playing time and is no longer an anonymous player.
Instead, he became one of the most frightening defenders in the NBA, especially because of his 1.8 swats per game.
Offensively, Bismack dropped his field goal percentage slightly from .464 to .449, although he recorded seven double-doubles this season, including a career-high 17 rebounds on two occasions.
In Charlotte’s final game of the season, Biyombo presented the team’s fans with eight points, four rebounds and three blocks as the Bobcats sealed the season with a 105-98 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Bobcats held onto an encouraging three-game win streak.
A thorough look at his second NBA season, and it becomes obvious that Biyombo has grown more consistent on the boards, but needs to do better offensively.
On Wednesday night, all of Biyombo’s points came on dunks and free throws. Over the last 10 games of the season, he averaged 6.8 points and 9.0 rebounds.
"Very far away. It is going to take a lot of work and a lot of hours in the gym," he said when asked if he had reached the level he wants to be.
"Offensively I want to get better,” he explained.
"We have a better team than last season. Everything is moving forward. The season has not gone the way we expected,” he pointed out.
But behind his work ethic, there are members of his family who have recently joined him in Charlotte.
His younger brother, a regular at Bobcat’s games, is a motive of inspiration for Bis, as he is known among Bobcats’ fans.
“It is a lot better to have a family here,” he said.
“You can always talk and spend some time with them. Sometimes they are critical of my game. My brother wants to play the game, and I just try to show him how hard he has to work to win a game.”
The Bobcats tripled last season's seven wins, although they missed out on a Playoff spot for the third consecutive season, after a promising start to the season.
The Bobcats escaped finishing in the NBA cellar as they have .256 winning percentage, slightly above the Orlando Magic.
Should Bismack Biyombo maintain his form for the next season, Bobcats fans have reasons to be confident that next year may be different.