Now that the Detroit Pistons have two starting-caliber point guards on their roster in Chauncey Billups and Brandon Jennings, there may not be too many minutes to give to Will Bynum.
It’s been routine throughout Bynum’s basketball career that he becomes the odd man out. He has game, though. He provides an instant spark off the bench and scores in bunches. Although he is not a pure point guard, Bynum has shown the ability to set up his teammates as evidenced by his career-high 20 assists in a single game.
He’s quick. He’s explosive. He never lacks effort. He’s a consummate professional who sets a perfect example for younger players in the league.
So why can’t “Bynumite” be trusted on a regular basis? For starters, he’s a defensive liability. When Bynum was off the floor last season, the Pistons gave up 4.5 fewer points per 100 possessions, and their opponents’ FG rate dropped by over two percent. He obviously lacks size, standing at just 6-foot tall. Virtually every guard he will ever be manned up against will have a size advantage on him.
He could make up for his size by pressuring the ball more (a la former Pistons Lindsey Hunter and Mike James,) but he doesn’t really do this so well.
His offensive game looks pretty good, but he’s not that great of a shooter. He’s not a terrible shooter either, though. “Streaky” might be the word here. The little man can drive the lane. This is a valuable skill in a drive-and-kick league like the NBA. Bynum thrives on pressuring the defense and then taking advantage of them while they try to catch up to his frenetic pace.
Some also like to point out that his assist numbers are a bit misleading. While he does pass the ball, he often seems to do so in order to get assists, not necessarily run the offense. If he has an open man, he will hit him with a pass, but the ball movement isn’t always where it should be when Bynum is on the court.
I don’t like to fault him for this too much for a couple of reasons. First, points are points regardless of how they come. If the Pistons are putting the ball in the hoop, this is a good thing — end of story. Also, I can’t blame Bynum for wanting to pad his stats. He’s worked incredibly hard to get to and stay in the league, and even though he’s shown he can play in the NBA, he’s still doubted on a regular basis.
If he can punch his numbers up at all, this helps his resume when looking for his next contract. With that being said, whether it’s by necessity or not, that’s not exactly playing with the team’s best fortunes in mind.
He has a career turnover percentage of 16.6, and the 17.3 percent he posted last season placed him 379thin the league. That’s just a few spots below Brandon Knight, and we all know how well he could hang on to the ball.
Bynum is a perfect fit for the city of Detroit. He is one of the hardest workers in the league and has a blue-collar work ethic that mirrors the city quite well. Perhaps this is part of the reason why he has become a fan favorite throughout the years. While some fans would love to see Bynum become a more integral part of an NBA team, his high-energy, inconsistent play is better suited for a role player.
Regardless, it appears he may be the odd man out again, and this seems to make it even harder not to root for guy. Add that he will be playing for his fourth coach in six seasons, and you want to see big things happen for the little man.