Suns’ Terrence Ross and Bismack Biyombo, NBA teammates again for the third time

PHOENIX — With the Phoenix Suns locker room open again this year after the pandemic has altered the media setup for the past two seasons, we are again more aware of the team’s personalities and can better convey them to you, the reader, for provide a better idea of ​​the dynamics in the team.

Here’s one that’s there almost every time we walk in: Bismack Biyombo is hilarious.

Sometimes he can’t help it, especially when we’re talking to one of his teammates.

In a moment when we were speaking with the beloved Mikal Bridges earlier in the year, Biyombo ended his crusade by jokingly declaring that Bridges was toxic and highly sensitive.

Teams need a guy like that and it’s part of why the 12-year-old Biyombo probably still has a few more NBA seasons to go.

All of this is to say that new Suns guard Terrence Ross will adjust quickly, because aside from the reasons we’ll see, he has some familiarity with the Congolese big man.

Biyombo’s only season in Toronto in the 2015-16 campaign was with Ross, who was originally drafted by the Raptors in 2012. The next season, Ross was dealt to the Orlando Magic at the trade deadline, which is where Biyombo had signed. in the off-season.

They were together two more years in Florida before Biyombo was traded to the Charlotte Hornets, and now, five years later, they are reunited.

Their jokes are back as if they were never apart.

“I’ve been following him!” Ross said Thursday. “I told Biz, he has always been playing with me, I told him that I will chase him as long as he plays. I’m here.”

“I do not like that. …I see his locker was next to mine, he wasn’t happy about it. I am extremely disappointed that he is here,” Biyombo joked, unable to contain his laughter to continue speaking. “When I saw the news that I was going to sign here, I said: ‘Oh, no. No again.’ But, it’s just the NBA, so I guess some people have to follow other people. I must be a very good leader for him to follow me like that.”

Joking aside, Biyombo immediately wanted Ross to come to Phoenix when it became a real possibility.

“When I saw that he was getting a buy, I was hopeful that we could grab him,” Biyombo said. “That was the first thing I said, ‘Oh, we’ve got to catch him.'”

After a late Suns push into the Ross process that included last-second conversations with head coach Monty Williams and general manager James Jones about Ross’s role that made the Suns “just a better fit, a better situation for me”, as he said. , Ross was heading to the Valley.

“When I heard we got it, I was really happy because Terrence is a guy who likes to play basketball, he knows how to play basketball,” Biyombo said.

“Biz is a great personality. She’s a fun guy, we always have a laugh, we always have a good time,” Ross added. “I feel like I’ve known him forever.”

For what Ross said, that’s important.

Biyombo noted that when he was a midseason addition last year, his past relationships with Chris Paul and Elfrid Payton helped him assimilate faster. Those guys would ask Biyombo what he was eating that night, and he’d give them the answer they knew he was coming to: hotel room service.

“Come here home!” Biyombo said they would tell him to eat well and not isolate himself like the new guy.

As mentioned, Biyombo went through this same adjustment moment last year. He joined a contender, filling a need that gave him immediate playing time.

That can be a difficult situation to navigate. But Biyombo illustrated why he really isn’t on a team designed like the Suns.

“When you play with a veteran team, the adjustment is much faster. … You just have to know where to be and do the right thing and play the right way,” he said.

Biyombo didn’t even practice with Phoenix before playing back-to-back. He was terrific, posting 11 points and six rebounds in 18 minutes and then had 15 points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals and three blocks in 29 minutes the following night.

All the while, Biyombo’s agent kept texting him, checking in on how the veteran’s legs felt after taking on that role right away (and not having played on an NBA team before that season).

“My legs are fine! We have veterans,” Biyombo said with a smile. “They just know how to move, how to be in the right place, and then you just do what you’re supposed to do.”

Biyombo pointed out how that Charlotte game was just pass after pass he received. Catch. Soak. Try to get everything else back. Defensively, his teammates were going to be in the right place, so it was just up to him. The excellent knowledge of his veteran role of him did not disappoint him.

Sometimes it’s a simple game, the beauty of Biz’s.

No matter how big a team is at the top, they will always need big contributions from their reserves throughout their run to a championship. That specifically applies to the Suns’ post-Kevin Durant trade.

“We also need a strong second unit so we can deliver,” Biyombo said.

He and Ross know firsthand how that works.

As Biyombo recited, those 2016 Raptors were facing the Indiana Pacers in the first round of the playoffs. In Game 5 with the series tied 2-2, Toronto was in deep trouble, facing a huge deficit and potentially a road elimination game in three more days.

With 34 seconds left in the third quarter and the Raptors down 15 at home.

But then they went on a 17-2 run over the next six more minutes to tie the game before a big win. Fifteen of those 17 points were scored by Toronto reserves, including six for Biyombo and a 3-pointer for Ross.

The Raptors won that series in seven games and made it all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. Who knows if they even escape the first round without that tremendous effort off the bench?

In Ross’ Suns debut Thursday, he showed some of that injection he can provide.

The veteran guard scored nine points in his first at-bat, finding his signature points in midrange and zooming through his off-the-ball moves.

My favorite play of the night that he did was the first. While taking the ball in semi-transition, Ross slid into a pick-and-roll, rejecting the screen to set up a pocket pass to Deandre Ayton. That’s the real plug-and-play thing.

Biyombo was also involved! He wasn’t even the first center off the bench, which means he probably wasn’t even scheduled to play on Thursday, but Williams made an adjustment and called Biyombo for four minutes in the first half. Biyombo gave him an incredible four minutes.

Watch that first clip and you’ll notice, yes, Ross covering Biyombo in the box. Veteran team, knowing where to be, knowing how to play basketball, just like Biyombo said.

The Suns got off to a dull start and were down 10 points in the first quarter, but by the end of Biyombo’s turn, it was a two-point game midway through the second quarter. That was thanks to what Ross and Biyombo did.

There will be a playoff game that this duo swings. I’m betting on it.

Keep an eye out for these two and how they impact games together (again).

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