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A key piece to the Los Angeles Lakers 2009 championship is giving the NBA another shot. The game was has changed quite a bit since he semi-retired. Nevertheless, it looks like Andrew Bynum is officially making a comeback to the hardwood.
Bynum was once selected 10th overall in the first round by the Lakers. He expected to be the next great big man to supersede Shaquille O’Neal. In ways, that’s exactly what he did. He helped Kobe Bryant propel the Lakers to back to back championships in 2009 and 2010.
In 2012, Shaq and retired and gave the young man high praise. “The best big man in the game is Andrew Bynum.” Despite winning two rings, his best statistical season came in 2011. He averaged 18 points, 12 rebounds, and two blocks a game.
Unfortunately, Bynum’s career was derailed by an array of injuries. In 2008, he dislocated his knee. One year late, he had a right medial collateral ligament tear. During the 2010 playoffs, he as playing through a knee hypertension injury and needed arthroscopic surgery in the offseason.
The Lakers were barely able to keep Bynum on the floor. He missed over 154 games between 2008 and 2013. Even when he miraculously performed in a game, it was short lived. He tried to make a fresh start with the Cleveland Cavaliers, but it didn’t pan out.
Andrew was more of a traditional center. He could back you down and score with an array of post moves. Not to mention he demonstrated the ability to get boards and protect the rim. However, traditional centers are nearly extinct.
Bynum was drafted in an era where big man could still dominate the paint and win championships. Pau Gasol and Andrew were similar to the “twin towers,” a nickname give to Tim Duncan and David Robinson of the San Antonio Spurs. Now that Andrew is back, the game has changed a lit.
The premier teams play with much smaller lineups. For example, the “Death Lineup” for the Golden State Warriors has Draymond Green at the five spot. Back in the day, playing an undersized forward at center would sound ridiculous.
Almost every player on the floor is expected to shoot from beyond the arc. Bynum understands that he not only has to be healthy but prove he can adapt to how basketball is played today. He was seen putting in major work on the court.
At thirty years old, Bynum isn’t too old to give the hardwood another chance. Plenty of big men have found themselves useful to the right team. Rim protectors like him are always welcome.