KEY POINTS

  • Bismack Biyombo is proving to be the Phoenix Suns' x-factor this season
  • Phoenix opts for a subtle upgrade to their frontcourt depth
  • His willingness to play his role may push the Suns towards another NBA Finals berth

The Phoenix Suns are staying committed to their goal of making it back to the NBA Finals this season and Bismack Biyombo is proving to be a crucial piece of that puzzle.

Biyombo made his first appearance for the reigning Western Conference Champions on January 2 on a 10-day deal after both centers Deandre Ayton and JaVale McGee entered the league’s health and safety protocols.

During that period, Biyombo averaged nine points, five rebounds, one steal, and 2.3 blocks while shooting 73.3 percent from the field, and general manager James Jones decided to bring him onto the squad for the rest of the season.

The 29-year-old Congolese has since been proven to be an effective member of their bench as his energy and effort on both ends of the floor have become an x-factor in the Suns’ most recent games.

In their victory against the injury-riddled Indiana Pacers, Biyombo showed why he belonged in a Phoenix jersey after filling up the box score by grabbing six offensive rebounds (13 boards in total), five assists, two blocks, a steal, and 21 points on an efficient 9-of-12 shooting night.

While most teams are looking for a big-name player to bring onto their squad to better their chances at winning, teams forget to fill out their bench with role players who can be relied upon when the time comes.

Biyombo is exactly that player the Suns need in their frontcourt as their depth has been questioned multiple times this season due to the loss of Dario Saric during the 2021 NBA Finals.

The Suns certainly could make flashy trades ahead of the February 10 trade deadline, but their group has already been performing superbly well and it might be a mistake to mess that up just to have a recognized name on the squad.

San Antonio Spurs forward-center Thaddeus Young has been linked to a trade with the Suns for the better part of the season, but it can be argued that sticking with Biyombo, McGee, Ayton and sophomore forward Jalen Smith might actually be their best bet.

Suns fans understandably want to have Young on the team because he provides an inside presence that few other players available on the market can provide, but he is already nearing the tail-end of his career at age 33.

Biyombo knows his role with the Suns and revealed that an opportunity to win, not make money, led him to Phoenix he said in an interview with Arizona Sports’ “Burns & Gambo” podcast.

“I don’t think I would’ve taken [more money] anyway because my gut feeling felt like this was the right situation for me. I think it’s the journey, the game that we play is not so much about money. There’s only so much money you can make,” said Biyombo as quoted by Arizona Sports.

“I knew because of the opportunity that was presenting itself and the type of guys that I was going to play with and the system that fits in perfectly with the way I play.”

Biyombo excels in playing as the roller in pick-and-roll situations and has proven it time and again with the Suns’ guards–from Chris Paul to Cameron Payne to Devin Booker.

Biyombo’s willingness to do what is asked of him--whether to play five minutes or 20 minutes--just might propel them to another solid run to the Finals.

Bismack Biyombo Bismack Biyombo #18 of the Phoenix Suns handles the ball against Isaiah Jackson #23 of the Indiana Pacers during the first half of the NBA game at Footprint Center on January 22, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona. Photo: Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images