When Jonas Valanciunas went down with a broken finger two weeks ago, it was a big deal for the Raptors. We all wondered how the team would cope. Fortunately, in the four games they've played since JV went down, Toronto has gone 3-1 with satisfying wins over the Cavaliers, Clippers and Wizards. His absence has forced coach Dwane Casey to run some funky smaller lineups, rely even more on Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, and, of course, greatly increase the minutes of one, Bismack Biyombo.
In his four games as a starter, Biyombo's played 33 minutes per game while posting averages of 4.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 2.0 blocks. As per usual, he's made a lot of noise on the defensive end. Nevertheless, Biyombo currently has the team's worst net rating (-1.8) among the regular rotation players, which suggests a lot.
We turn now to Harsh Dave, our resident master of disaster, for the first edition of Harsh Take.
Harsh, what's up with Bismack Biyombo?
As a huge fan of Masai Ujiri's grand African plan (oh yes, there's a plan), I'm very much #outhere for the Bismack Biyombo Experience. And what an experience it is. He really, really cannot catch the ball. It's amazing to me. I actually look forward to when the Raptors offence slows down to a crawl and they give it to Biyombo at the end of the shot clock. The joy I get when Biyombo adorably tries a post move or two is how I imagine a father must feel watching their still-not-old-enough-to-walk baby struggle to maintain balance.
I absolutely find it amazing that the Raptors willingly play essentially 4-on-5 offensively in crunch time, just so they can have Biyombo on the court for his defence. Not only can you not depend on him to reliably convert around the rim, he's liable to drop the ball if passed to him. Essentially, he's often just a screener and offensive rebounder on that end of the court.
It's really a testament to Bismack that despite his limitations offensively, he remains a very easy player to root for. Firstly, he's a good defensive player and rebounder who he cleans up everything around the rim. And secondly, where Andrea Bargnani looked like a guy who played basketball only because he was tall, Bismack uses every ounce of sweat falling off his receding hairline into the game. The dude plays his ass off. Biyombo is a physical specimen, and a great athlete, but he doesn't have fluid mobility or any finesse to his game. I was actually thinking -- what sport would it be funniest to watch Bismack play? Here are the nominees:
Golf - Bismack would be the type of dude to crack 400 yards on his driver, but if he got stuck in a bunker, there's no telling how long it'll take to get out. Also, can you imagine him trying to hit a downhill putt from eight feet out with only a gentle touch? I feel like he'd overshoot by at least five feet.
Tennis - Sure, he could probably run back and forth with the best of them, but how's he going to finesse a ball to stay within the lines ever? I would pay $50 to see Bismack give a seminar on drop shots. Do his wrists even work?
Lacrosse - The sight of a 6'9 dude from the Democratic Republic of Congo pasting NLL players (a.k.a. people who teach high school gym in their free time) would be enjoyable. Also, I don't think he'd be able to do that weird stick-wag thing that lacrosse players do and instead would just run through like a freight train. I'd watch that. Sign me up.
Cricket - Bowling or batting, it doesn't matter. Bismack was born to play cricket. His destiny was to be a power-hitting lower order batsman, who doubles as an intimidating fast bowler. I know this reference won't make sense to 90% of you, but just know this: a) I damn sure was going to shove a cricket reference in here, and b) it's destiny.
Bismack's here to please. Also, his name is Bismack, I haven't heard enough talk about how awesome his name is. Actually, in my thorough research, while I couldn't find a Bismack, I did find an Otto von Bismarck! He was actually the German leader who led the efforts to establish colonies in Africa. Woo Colonialism! Okay not really, but that's the best I've got. I love Bismack and you should feel bad if you don't.
Bonus Random Take: So three different times recently, I've had the pleasure of explaining to others that your name is actually Harsh Dave, like for real, legit. Any jam you'd like to add here?
With respect to how ridiculous my name is, consider this: When I went to cover the Raptors905 game, the media relations guy came to me at some point and basically said to me: "Hey uh, so this is kinda weird, but the MLSE guys don't know whether Harsh Dave is your name or your pseudonym. Do you mind showing me some ID?"
So basically, I got ID'd at a basketball game and I wasn't even buying beer. This is the life of Harsh Dave. Here's my Christmas gift to my parents.
Further proof that my name is a real thing that didn't just happen while my parents were inebriated, let's turn it over to a LinkedIn search of my name. Big shout out to my boy Harsh Wardhan Dave of Housing.com. A little FYI for the people -- Harsh Vardhan was a North Indian emperor from way back.
Shout out to him, too.
Found some Harsh's on the Twitterverse too.
There are multiple Harsh Dave twitter accounts. My name is my name. pic.twitter.com/01ZYaIEUzh— King Piccolo (@IamHarshDave) November 30, 2015