I’m Sorry Andrew, Maybe I Was Wrong

29 11 2007

Andrew Bynum to the hoopRecently at two different forums I’ve been involved in conversations regarding Andrew Bynum, the LA Lakers center who was much-maligned over the Summer – from many different sources, including here at With Malice… my basic argument has been that he’s responded well to that criticism, and has made real in-roads into repaying the loyalty that the Lakers front office has shown him.

Cutting and pasting now, this was one of my comments, in response to a guy discussing my Utah piece suggesting that the Jazz could trade Kirilenko for someone like… say… Andrew Bynum.

Sorry, but no way in hell do they deal Bynum now. Not after being offered Kidd, and refusing. This is where the Lakers have put their future, and they’d look like right idiots to take Bynum now, after basically passing up Kidd, then later J O’Neal too… especially not for a guy who has obvious issues like AK-47.

Bynum has really impressed thus far this season. He’s only playing 25 minutes a game, yet averaging a double/double (11pts/10.2 rpg). He has a very high shooting % (57.6), shoots FTs well (72.5%) and gets more than a block a game… to put those statistics in perspective, Dwight Howard plays nearly 50% more than Bynum (37 min), gets 22 ppg, 14.4 rpg, and just over 2 blocks a game… and is considered to be the best big man thus far this season.
Bynum is in the top 10 in both points and blocks for centers (at 9th/6th respectively), and plays the fewest minutes out of any of the top group of centers.

If Oden started this year, and had these numbers we’d be declaring him to be doing very well indeed.  People often forget that Oden & Bynum are the same age.

Bynum just turned 20, and whilst he has a loooong way to go, he’s on the way. On various opponent blogs he’s been described both as a ‘beast’ and a ‘monster’. What’s he going to be like in a few years time?
No, LA will keep Bynum, as well they should.

Admittedly, the Kidd trade included other pieces from the Lakers as well, but the sticking point was Bynum.  Don’t get me wrong – I’m not backflipping now & declaring him to be the second coming (of Shaq?), but I can see that he’s going to be a valuable player to the Lakers… and can understand them not taking the plunge on Kidd.  Kinda…

I’ll stand by my comment on Oden.  I think far too many pundits forget that Andrew Bynum’s birth occured on October 27th, 1987.  Less than 3 months before Greg Oden’s January 22nd 1988.  And I’m not saying that Bynum’s destined to be as good as Oden… just that the numbers he’s having now would be acceptable for Greg Oden.

Who knows how good he’ll end up being?  Talent isn’t always realised.  And I also understand the quandary Kobe’s in – Bynum at his peak happens much later than Kobe being a viable option.  There’s definitely a conflict of interest there.  But one thing is definite: there is the promise of a very good center there, and I’ve changed my mind.  Keep him.

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7 responses

29 11 2007
JP

I was very impressed with the way he dealt with the Kobe thing this summer. Much better than a 19 year old should’ve. That speaks volumes to me about his value, much more than his talent.

As much as I dislike Kobe, the word here in LA is that he’s been working with Bynum every practice and building his confidence. According to guys close to the team Kobe is beginning to look to him as the first passing option, particularly when Bryant draws a double team.

BUT (sorry my man), Kobe’s issues are with management and they aren’t going to be resolved anytime soon, if ever. Nothing has changed since his summer tirade and a trade seems imminent. It’s likely just a question of finding quality complimentary pieces to Big Andrew.

30 11 2007
Joey Rosario

I’ll hold my judgment on Bynum until he proves he can contribute more. He showed promise last season. Pretty inconsistent though. I remember him being picked in all my fantasy league only to be dropped once he hit the wall.

I agree with JP. Lakers need to trade away Kobe and get young talent and draft picks. It’s obvious they are not going anywhere with Kobe. He wants to be “the man” in LA but we all know without Shaq, Kobe will only have the ‘Colorado story’ to show for.

30 11 2007
sharky

Bynum will be better than Oden on the offensive end, and both will be a marquee matchup in 5 years (with both of them vying for the All-Star game with Yao).

And Bynum is certainly not the 2nd coming of Shaq… he is ALREADY far more skilled than Shaq could ever dream to be. He’s just not as physically imposing and may never be. Shaq was like a 7’0 Barkley with his weight and center of gravity, Bynum has more of a “classic” center body.

One thing is for sure: we have a good one. Trading him is INSANE. Unless we were getting KG back from Minny earlier (God knows why that team didn’t take Odom/Bynum/One of the Lakers PG’s and Picks. They would have been better now, and better in the future. Dumb, dumb, dumb.)

30 11 2007
Neil Joshi

Hey Don,

Thanks for the great comment on my site. Hope you continue to read my blog in the future. This is a great blog, and it’s on my blog roll. I was wondering if you could do the same for The Sports Lounge, http://www.sportsloungeblog.com. Thanks!

As for Bynum, he has really turned a corner this year. Under the guidance of legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, he has taken huge strides this season. He has really responded well to Kobe’s criticism of him over the summer. It would have been easy for him to get rattled, but he hasn’t at all. Trading him for Kidd last year would have thrown away the future to win now, which isn’t exactly a certainty, with the Spurs and the Suns still stalking the West.

But, by investing in the future, and developing players like Bynum and Jordan Farmar (another youngster who’s shown that he’s got game), the Lakers are looking like they want to improve from within, rather than making another huge deal. Bryant is still relatively young, and Odom is too, which gives this team time to sit and wait for the complementary pieces to improve. The only question is: Can Kobe tolerate the growing pains of his talented teammates?

30 11 2007
WithMalice

Thanks for the comments guys, and it will definitely be interesting to see which way the Lakers go re. Kobe.
I agree: they’re not trading Bynum… another option they may take tho’ is to just let Kobe play his contract out, and walk when he wants… taking quite a substantial salary off the Lakers books, and freeing up space for other possible ‘signings’…

2 12 2007
Aaron Becker

I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Bynam turned out better than Oden.

30 12 2007
lakersfanboy

Bynum will someday become a big star for the Lakers. He is still young but already proves that he can handle the responsibility of a starting center.

JEM24
Lakers fan

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