This is the second of two parts.

L.A. Times: If the Lakers’ decision to draft 17-year-old Andrew Bynum had been either a heartwarming Cinderella story or Looney Tunes, the best and worst was yet to come.

How many teens molder on an NBA bench, are called out by the team’s unhappy superstar and wind up winning the big guy over and saving the day?

That’s what happened to Bynum, whom Kobe Bryant railed about trading . . . before Bryant decided he wanted to be the one to go . . . after which Bynum became a monster and Bryant did what he so rarely does: reconsider.

Even with Bynum’s season ending Jan. 13, his giant leap had already turned Bryant around. If Bynum was unable to return last spring as the Lakers advanced to the Finals, Bryant now knew what he had in the young center.

“He’s a legitimate, 7-1, long-wing-span, natural shot blocker,” Bryant said, “so add Andrew, it takes us to another level defensively.”

When they found themselves being outrebounded in their second-round series with Utah, Bryant was asked if that was the first time they had missed Bynum.

“We’ve missed Andrew the whole time,” he said.

The secret is out. CBS Sportsline just ranked Bynum No. 3 among NBA centers in potential impact this season, behind Dwight Howard and Yao Ming . . . ahead of No. 4 Shaquille O’Neal.

All it took were three of the wildest seasons the Lakers had ever seen.

Continue reading ‘Andrew Bynum’s giant leap for Lakers’

  • Byntastic

    First.

    Good read there.. Bynum is awesome.

  • lakers08-09

    Read both Bynum articles. The thing that amazes me is no one understands how high the Lakers where on Bynum coming out in the draft. **Who knows where they were when the Lakers took Bynum & how they felt. I always love the draft.Kupchak has done a great job in
    the draft.He traded late & took Kareem Rush at 20,but should have taken Tayshaun Price that woud have won the Lakers a couple more Championships.He was a local guy who played four years out of State
    for four years.He played defense,rebound had range from the corner.

    Bynum was a guy going in lost a lot of weight after the McDonalds game.He was from N.Y. area and went to the draft.I was in a car listening to the draft.I knew this kid Bynum was told by a team he
    was going be drafted by a team in the top 10.He was in his suit &
    dressed up looking good as you can see in the photos.He was not that
    highly thought of by a lot of teams.When I heard who the Lakers picked I was about as excited & happy for both the kid & the Lakers
    because he was there guy all along.Then that Miami game(you tube it)
    he was a young rookie banging with Shaq. I knew this kid would be special.Also see him at the summmer leagues back in the L.B. days
    you could see his talent.He has great strong,but soft hands for a
    big guy.Think Shaq & the free throw line.That ain’t happening here.
    Have a great season big guy !