Former Los Angeles Lakers center and current Philadelphia 76er Andrew Bynum has yet to play this NBA season. He was dubbed inactive during training camp due to neither of his knees fully healing for his arthritis after the Orthokine treatment. After the an extended period of time, and a little bowling, his knees worsened and the 76ers officially declared him out indefinitely.
This past Sunday the Lakers took on the Bynum-less 76ers and won 111-98. According to ESPNLA writer Dave McMenamin, before the game even began Andrew had a couple of comments on his tenure as a Laker and how Kobe Bryant stunted his growth as a player; but by the end of his time in L.A., Bynum felt that Bryant’s ball-dominant ways hurt his development as one of the league’s best centers.
“I thought it really helped me a lot obviously at first, because he draws so much attention it’s hard for guys to double team and key on you, so it helped me tremendously,” Bynum told a group of L.A. reporters before the Lakers played the Sixers on Sunday. “Later, I felt I was able to get the ball more and do more things with the ball, so I could definitely see how it could stunt growth.”
Interestingly enough, Bryant agreed with everything that Andrew stated and spoke in a similar sense:
“For sure, because when you’re playing with me you obviously have to sacrifice something,” Bryant said. “Same thing with me and Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal). You kind of off-set each other to a certain extent. So, I mean, that’s true. When he gets back and he’s healthy, he’ll come out here and he’ll be the focal point of their attack and he’ll be getting the ball more and you’ll see big games from him more consistently.”
Bryant spoke highly of Andrew and briefly pondered about his new hairstyle stating;
“I don’t know what he’s doing with that perm, but I guess he’s a trendsetter.”
Bynum’s hairstyle was inspired by a Boondocks character, but instead of responding those questions, he offered tidbits of advice to Lakers star center Dwight Howard about playing alongside Kobe and how he feels about his dominance within the center position:
“I think Dwight is a great player, but he’s going to have to get accustomed to playing with Kobe and not touching the ball every single play,” Bynum said. Personally I think they traded No. 1 (center) for No. 2.”
Bynum spoke about his knee injuries saying that “hopefully I will be cleared for impact” sometime soon, and that his knees are feeling. The 76ers organization is taking their time with it and want to be sure that there is nothing “floating around in there.” Before ending his series of interviews, he also commented on how the Lakers are doing this year:
“They’re just struggling,” Bynum said of the Lakers’ 10-14 start to the season. “They got injuries and they’re not posting the ball, so, that’s tough too.”
Bynum wasn’t done there.
“They got to make a commitment to defense, No. 1, and No. 2, I think they’re going to have to post the ball within a system that’s going to do that,” he said. “Obviously the talent is there to win a championship from a starter’s point of view, anyway. I think they struggle a little bit off the bench, so that kind of hurts, too.”
Bynum said he has “no regrets” about the path that led him out of L.A. He added “my time is done there” and that the location of where he plays isn’t as important to him as him being healthy enough to allow him to play.
“It doesn’t really matter to me where I play as long as I get to,” Bynum said.
Many Laker fans are thankful for Bynum’s contributions to the organization, as he did aid them in winning two championships. However, there are just as many who wish that he would have matured more and stayed healthier long enough to develop into the powerful force he is when he is on top of his game.
Regardless of what happened in the past, Drew is now in Philadelphia and the Lakers have Howard, who many believe will be a dominant factor in multiple championships. The future is impossible to predict, but it is a lot clearer with the Laker’s commitment to keeping Howard happy and his potential to become one of the greatest Laker centers ever.