Did the Raptors make the mistake of choosing to keep Jonas Valanciunas over Bismack Biyombo? It’s not really that simple. When the Raptors signed Bismack Biyombo, the Hornets did not want him back. It was hard for the Raptors to know that he would turn into such a valuable player. Additionally, the Raptors did not have Biyombo’s bird rights so it would have been difficult to bring back Biyombo regardless if they extended Valanciunas or not. Furthermore, the Raptors extended Valanciunas before they really knew how good Biyombo was. If the Raptors kept Biyombo as well Valanciunas, do we ever see Bebe playing meaningful minutes?
Does Biyombo and Bebe work on the same team?
It definitely works defensively. However, offensively it’s probably a nightmare for the Raptors. Bebe might have a good field goal percentage, but he doesn’t have much shooting range and neither does Biyombo. Having a defensive stopping big in a game for 20-25 minutes looks great, but does it work if you try to stretch it over a 48-minute game? It could very well translate to the Raptors playing four on five on the offensive side of the ball for an entire game. It would end up putting a lot more pressure on DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry. If we turn back the clock to the playoffs, those guys struggled in the most important games of the season.
How would the Raptors have been able to sign Biyombo?
The Raptors would have had to dump a contract to open up cap space to sign Biyombo because they didn’t possess his bird rights. The Raptors would not have dumped Jonas Valanciunas because he was the Raptors best player in the playoffs. Before getting hurt, he dominated Myles Turner and Hassan Whiteside. The Raptors likely would have tried to dump Terrence Ross who didn’t really live up to expectations. However, that probably would have been a mistake because Ross has shot the lights out this season and turned himself into an asset. That leaves DeMarre Carroll in the crosshairs. He looked like damaged goods last season and it would be hard to imagine a team taking on his contract this summer. The Raptors could have let DeRozan walk to re-sign Biyombo, but DeRozan was one of the better shooting guards in the NBA and it’s almost impossible to let that go. Furthermore, DeRozan has turned into the best shooting guard in the Eastern Conference this season and a big part of the Raptors continued success.
How would keeping Biyombo have fixed the Raptors power forward situation?
Keeping Bismack Biyombo does not solve the Raptors power forward problems on any level. It was clear he was never going to be able to play alongside Valanciunas. So, the Raptors would still be looking for a power forward that would be able to rotate with Patrick Patterson.
You can say the Raptors should have kept Bismack Biyombo, but there was really no way to make it happen that made sense prior to this season. Finally, if the Raptors would have somehow kept Biyombo there’s a chance we never see the emergence of Bebe.