Bynum ThoughtsWritten on 11/16/2007
Can we give this kid his due yet?
Over the first two weeks of this young NBA season, there have been a lot of question marks surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers. Because of these distractions, it’s tough to truly appreciate just how well this team is currently playing. The schedule we’ve had thus far has been the toughest any team in the NBA has had to endure. Thanks to great play from some unexpected sources, the team managed to survive the storm with respectability. Through it all, Jordan Farmar looks like he belongs in this league, Ronny Turiaf is performing beautifully as a starter, and Kobe, although filled with discontent, is playing like a man possessed. One might argue, however, that the sudden emergence of Andrew Bynum into a nightly, efficient double-double machine off the bench has been the shot in the arm this team needs.
Although Bynum still has weakness in his game, which is easy to see on both ends of the floor at times, remember this: Brandon Roy, the 2007 NBA rookie of the year, played 2,015 minutes in his first season. Bynum, in his third season currently, has played 2,294 minutes during his entire career. He has barely gotten his feet wet in this league, and already, the results have been very, very impressive.
There’s no reason to believe why he can’t be an 18/12 player by next season. Hell, running a few plays for the kid and keeping him in the game for another 5-6 minutes might be able to generate results close to this already. A player like that doesn’t grow on trees, and quite frankly, I’m happy our organization has been patient enough to see if we have something. Acting in haste when times get tough can be the easy thing to do, but when you hold the cards, sometimes it’s best to get a good read on the situation before you go all in.
Criticism has followed Jim Buss since his arrival into the Lakers organization, most notably for his reluctance to include Bynum in trade scenarios, but has anyone ever considered that this could all be for the best? Bynum’s transformation from Fat Albert stunt double into one of the brightest young stars in the game has been remarkable to watch. This season, it’s apparent that the potential truly is there - it might not be long until he’s considered one of the best bigs in the NBA.