Slightly more than a year ago, Andrew Bynum forearmed J.J. Barea in the second round of the NBA playoffs, which earned him a suspension; he followed with a great statistical season and ignited debate about the best big man in the league. It was not an easy season, in fact, it was quite tumultuous.
Bynum began the season with a Dwight Howard-shaped albatross wrapped around his neck, as trade rumors have swirled around him.
The amount of on-court incidents Bynum has displayed this season shows that he is more Rasheed Wallace mentally than many Laker faithful would like to admit. It is time that the Lakers bail on the talented center and move forward after a deal.
ESPN analyst, Trent Dilfer surmised that handling success is much more important than handling failure. The petulant Lakers star has behaved in a way that shows his immaturity. Several incidents this season have proved it.
If the Lakers win an NBA championship this season, Bynum will have been an integral part. He is their second best player. The team needs his post presence. But they do not need his childish behavior. And for that reason, the team will not win a title until Bynum is out of a purple and gold uniform.
If your second best player is not a grown up, it sincerely inhibits your upside. In Tuesday’s game 5 loss, Bynum contributed little to the game when he did not receive early touches. He was almost non-existent in the first half. Other selfless players dominate on the boards or by blocking shots. Bynum lost that battle on the glass to Javale McGee 14-11. McGee thoroughly outplayed him with inartistic jump hooks and hustle. McGee scored 21 points on 9-12 shooting.
After the game, head coach Mike Brown was disappointed with their defense in the painted area.
“Our paint protection on the defensive end of the floor is not good right now. [The Nuggets] don’t have many post-up threats, big, strong guys that can back you down … and they outscore us in paint points, 58-44. Our weak side did not do a good job of having awareness, nor did we do a good job as team protecting that paint.”
With a 7-footer as talented as Bynum, this should not be an issue. A player who has seen the focus it takes to win three titles should know that defense should not be tied to offense and touches. That is the mark of a selfish player.
In the final seconds of an April match-up with the San Antonio Spurs -in which Bynum nabbed 30 rebounds- he attempted to steal the ball from his teammate, Steve Blake. He’s gotten thrown out of games and gotten numerous other technical fouls this season.
This is the guy who the Lakers are supposed to give a long term deal? This is the guy who will take the mantle from Kobe Bryant when he retires?
I think not.
I wouldn’t invest in him for the foreseeable future.
The team should try to garner Dwight Howard in a deal, as they already have. The deal would be mutually beneficial. Bynum is the best player that the Orlando Magic could get in a trade and the only center who would be of similar value. If Orlando isn’t willing to make a deal, perhaps the Houston Rockets would be willing to find a third team and an enticing package. New Jersey may be willing to include Broke Lopez in a package.
It is always a tough call to ship off a dominant center, especially one averaging 18.7 points and 11.8 boards. He had a playoff record, 10 block shots earlier in this series. But either way, Bynum is not the superstar that he could be. He’s not the adult fans want him to be. And it’s time the Lakers ship him away from Hollywood.