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Storch
03-24-2011, 03:51 PM
http://www.nba.com/2011/news/features/scott_howard_cooper/03/24/andrew-bynum-lakers-impact/index.html?ls=iref:nbahpt1


Bynum's new-found reliability quieting Lakers' debate


Posted Mar 24 2011 10:19AM

It's Year 3 of the debate, and still no conclusive answer.

On one side, Andrew Bynum is the difference between the Lakers winning another championship or being pushed into a bitter vacation. The last month has proven that.

On the other side, Andrew Bynum is a complementary piece, a luxury, and the Lakers can win the title even if he plays a limited role. History has shown it.

The undeniable evidence of the 2008-09 and 2009-10 seasons would ordinarily be conclusive. The Lakers had a title parade with Bynum in a fringe role. Period.

But then comes the last month and everything changes -- perspective, the league-wide playoff picture, decisions on potential blockbuster trades. Little things like that.

Bynum has been that good since the All-Star break and the Lakers have, too, winning 13 of 14 to move into second place in the Western Conference and re-affirm their championship potential. Bynum has provided a new level of defensive presence, and his old one -- when he was healthy -- was impressive enough. If Bynum is going to play like this, L.A. springs from wobbling along at midseason to suddenly looking more formidable than at any time during the previous two title runs.

Bynum is establishing a beachhead right as the Spurs have to sweat the health and availability of Tim Duncan. Coach Gregg Popovich expects Duncan's sprained ankle to cost him a handful of games rather than a couple weeks .

Still, the consideration that would have been impossible to imagine at any other stage is now unavoidable: Because of injury, and the Spurs likely giving Duncan a couple weeks' rest before the next update on his ankle, Bynum may be more dependable than Duncan come playoff time.

Size was already one of the Lakers' advantages -- along with championship experience and a guy named Kobe Bryant -- and Bynum is making the front line more formidable than ever. His 11.8 points, 13 rebounds, 2.8 blocks and 60.9 field goal percentage in the first 12 games after the All-Star break -- before the deserved two-game suspension for a roller-derby take down of Minnesota's Michael Beasley -- became a fresh dimension opponents had to counter. Coach Phil Jackson offered a rare level of praise for Bynum as a big part of the team's increased defensive energy that has driven the Lakers out of the fog.

Bynum's play justifies everything for L.A. -- spending the No. 10 pick in the 2005 Draft on a New Jersey high school kid who would become the youngest player in league history, sticking with Bynum as Bryant screamed for a shakeup to help the team, investing in a four-year, $57.4-million extension in 2008 and sticking with Bynum as his injuries stacked up. He has become the difference-maker the Lakers projected and wanted.

But needed? Debate on.

In the 2008-09 season, he missed 32 games in the regular season with a torn right knee ligament. Bynum returned for the playoffs, but contributed just 6.3 points and 3.7 rebounds in 17.4 minutes... and the Lakers still won the title. They faced Dwight Howard, the best center in the world, in the Finals and withstood him despite Bynum never playing more than 23 minutes in any of the five games. That Finals was more about Pau Gasol's length than Bynum's physical style.

In 2009-10, Bynum missed 15 games late in the regular season with a strained Achilles' tendon. He returned for the playoffs again, noticeably laboring through long stretches and averaging just 8.6 points and 6.9 rebounds in 24.4 minutes... and still the Lakers won another title. He broke 30 minutes twice in the seven-game series against the Celtics in the Finals.

Two years in a row, two minimal contributions, two parades.

Bynum prepares to return from the suspension Friday against the Clippers, and the possibilities seem endless. The Lakers were championship-good the previous two seasons without the kind of impact he has delivered since the All-Star break. They were very impressive at the start of 2010-11, with Bynum recovering from knee surgery.

So he can't be that much of a difference maker.

Except that he can.

Storch
03-24-2011, 03:58 PM
I agree to an extent. But I always wonder why people always single out a player as "the difference" in winning a championship. It's a team game and I honestly believe we won't make it if we had lost any of the following: kobe, drew, odom, gasol. Those are definitely the difference makers imo.

TboneM3
03-24-2011, 03:58 PM
I don't think so much about the ifs, coulds, what'll-bes. Like every year, we want all of our guys healthy and playing in sync. They pay Bynum a good chunk of money; I expect him to play at his pay grade & no less. At full strength the Lakers are the favorites in a 4 7-game series tourny.

Iron24th
03-24-2011, 05:09 PM
If Bynum plays his first playoffs fully healthy,watch out league!

Tymathee
03-24-2011, 05:25 PM
^ Uh, Iron, we won the last 2 with him not fully healthy, so... bynum at any length watch out league.

Heck, duruing this stretch run he's not fully healthy, it just shows how good he makes us. You think we blow that 20 pt lead vs the suns with By num in there? This article is ********, Bynum is HUGE for us. Pau is soft in the middle defensively, and so is Odom, they're weak side defenders, Bynum is a strong side, great at post up work and stopping drives, i'll take Bynum at center over pau at center anyday

championships
03-24-2011, 05:37 PM
Three-Peat!

Avenged
03-24-2011, 05:50 PM
Maybe not in years past, but this year I fully believe he is the difference. We've seen how dominant the Lakers can be when Bynum is playing, and how easy he makes life for everyone out there on the court.

rabueed
03-24-2011, 05:55 PM
Maybe not in years past, but this year I fully believe he is the difference. We've seen how dominant the Lakers can be when Bynum is playing, and how easy he makes life for everyone out there on the court.

agreed.

GREATNESS ONE
03-24-2011, 06:18 PM
Big Drew !!!!! I love this man, I smell 3 PEAT !!!!

championships
03-24-2011, 06:25 PM
Bynums size alone helps us. Now he is crashing the boards the way we always needed him to. That and his D is what is Important to have this year.

Lakersfan2483
03-24-2011, 06:44 PM
He's extremely important to the success of our team, he's our anchor on defense. Did you see how many layups we were giving up against the Suns and Blazers without Dru? Coop is right to an extent, especially if we face a team like Dallas or OKC out West and or we face Boston, Miami or Chicago in the East.

Hellcrooner
03-24-2011, 08:00 PM
id swear we won the last two with him playing a very limited role....

C-Style
03-24-2011, 08:16 PM
I agree, you can also say that a bout Lamar, Artest defense, Kobe, Gasol, The Killer BeeZ...We need em all

lakers4sho
03-24-2011, 08:40 PM
id swear we won the last two with him playing a very limited role....

Now he's playing to his potential...and you're seeing the results. 13 out of 14 and a thrashing of the supposed "best team" in the league.

Before you say it, I agree that the playoffs is a whole different beast. But it doesn't hurt to have an extra big man, doesn't it?

championships
03-24-2011, 09:31 PM
id swear we won the last two with him playing a very limited role....

And lost the one before that without having his limited role. We will never know if the results could have been different with him in the lineup that year but we do know that we did win with him in the lineup the last two years.

Hellcrooner
03-24-2011, 09:43 PM
Now he's playing to his potential...and you're seeing the results. 13 out of 14 and a thrashing of the supposed "best team" in the league.

Before you say it, I agree that the playoffs is a whole different beast. But it doesn't hurt to have an extra big man, doesn't it?

Withouth Bynum we May o rmay not win the ring 50%

Withouth Odom we may or may not win the ring 50%

Withouth Artest or fisher or barnes we may or may not win the ring 75% yes 25% no.


Withouth KObe or Pau we WONT win the ring.

So , nope Bynum is not the difference between losing and winning.

New Power House
03-24-2011, 11:33 PM
One fact is undeniable here. Without Bynum the Lakers have won before and they might continue to do so.The problem is that without Bynum the lakers are soft inside as hell. Bynum has proven in this short period of time that when he is around the lakers are an intimidating team and the enemy knows it. This particular year,he is a main factor because he is fresh and hungry to prove that he is ready to elevate his name along with the best centers that lakers have seen. Everybody,outside the Buss family,have expressed their desire to exchange him for Howard including my self. Well this is the reactor of the fire that Bynum is showing as his body gets in play off shape. Yes, the lakers can fight this year again,but will be easier to know that Big Brother is right behind you watching your back. Just ask Gasol if he missed him for these last two games.:facepalm:

Vinylman
03-25-2011, 06:56 PM
Maybe not in years past, but this year I fully believe he is the difference. We've seen how dominant the Lakers can be when Bynum is playing, and how easy he makes life for everyone out there on the court.

I agree 100%

I think what has happened in the past is just that ... in the past...

Kobe is definitely slowing down and we have no front court depth... more importantly, the top teams in the league are better than they were in the last 2 years...

Bynum will be the key to our championship run... can we win with him playing like last year... maybe... but without him we will have alot of trouble...

s3antana5757
03-25-2011, 08:20 PM
I agree 100%

I think what has happened in the past is just that ... in the past...

Kobe is definitely slowing down and we have no front court depth... more importantly, the top teams in the league are better than they were in the last 2 years...

Bynum will be the key to our championship run... can we win with him playing like last year... maybe... but without him we will have alot of trouble...

I agree with everything except the bolded above. I think every team in the league would trade their front court for ours. Sure, behind the top 3 we don't have anyone, but no one has 3 guys as good as Gasol, Bynum, and Odom to roll with at any time. Even teams like the C's, can't even touch us. The O'Neals are more fragile than Drew, Davis is an undersized 4, and as much as I hate KG, you have to give him his due. He can play.

Vinylman
03-26-2011, 12:39 PM
I agree with everything except the bolded above. I think every team in the league would trade their front court for ours. Sure, behind the top 3 we don't have anyone, but no one has 3 guys as good as Gasol, Bynum, and Odom to roll with at any time. Even teams like the C's, can't even touch us. The O'Neals are more fragile than Drew, Davis is an undersized 4, and as much as I hate KG, you have to give him his due. He can play.

i meant we have no depth if bynum gets hurt... if he is healthy we have plenty of depth...