Green Target: Bismack Biyombo's emergence has caught the eyes of Celtics fans

As the 7th pick in the 2011 NBA Draft, Bismack Biyombo had become somewhat of an afterthought and bust in some minds due to his raw ability that hadn't be unleashed yet. After spending his first four seasons in Charlotte, Biyombo found his way to Toronto this year and with Jonas Valanciunas out with an injury, the 23-year-old center has finally gotten an opportunity to shine in the playoffs.

Through 18 playoff games, Biyombo is averaging 6.2 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 1.4 BPG while shooting nearly 60% from the field in just over 25 minutes per game. Looking at his per 36 minutes, Biyombo's numbers are extremely impressive at 8.8 PPG, 13.7 RPG, and 2.0 BPG. More importantly, Biyombo's athleticism and energy has gotten the Toronto Raptors back into the series against Cleveland in the Conference Finals. In Game Three, the Congo native grabbed a franchise playoff record 26 rebounds and showed an unrelenting will to crash the glass. His defense has produced some highlight reel blocks including a couple on LeBron James himself.

The young center's emergence has caught the eye of Celtics fans all over the world including Boston's very own Bill Simmons:

Biyombo has a player option for next year at $3 million and given how well he's played, it's extremely unlikely he accepts the option. He will definitely be looking to cash in on his playoff success and that's where the Celtics might possibly come into play. First question is: Is Bismack Biyombo a max contract guy? The answer to that is no but should the Celts be willing to overpay for him? Probably yes. Biyombo is one of the more athletic big men in the league and he's only 23 years old. One of the glaring holes on the Celtics is that they lack an intimidating presence in the paint and haven't had one since Garnett and Kendrick Perkins. The young Raptor fills that hole for the Celtics should they choose to pursue him and there's plenty of room for Biyombo to improve.

Guys like DeMarcus Cousins and Jahlil Okafor might be more attractive guys to try and acquire but that will take a lot of strings to pull in order to accomplish. If the Celtics want to add a defensive stud who can only continue to improve, Biyombo is a good option to look at. Whether he starts or comes off the bench, the young center would immediately bolster the team's defensive prowess and can contribute in many ways. It's clear that he never got a fair shot in Charlotte and once Valanciunas went down last round, Biyombo found his window of opportunity and is unleashing his talent.

As for the money aspect, that may be the biggest obstacle in trying to acquire Biyombo. In my humble opinion, I would expect him to demand somewhere in the neighborhood of around $8 to $12 million a year for his services. That may seem like severe overpayment for him but the NBA's cap is increasing yet again and naturally everyone's numbers have to go up. However, given who the Celtics have been linked to in free agency or via trade, they may want to use their max dollars and money on higher priority players. However, if the Celtics want to also get their hands on a guy who can be a leader on defense with tremendous upside, Biyombo is worth a look.

In the meantime, enjoy some highlight reel blocks by Biyombo on LeBron James and Kevin Love:

Image Credit: Tom Szczerbowski
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