But, then last year happened. And by January, other than a few clunkers against physical teams (see: Boston Celtics), Andrew once again looked like the player he showed flashes of being in '05, and the Lakers rose to the top of the West.
But then, the knee injury happened.
Now, ever since this past spring (during AB's injury lay-off), Simmons has been on the "we don't really know what Andrew Bynum is going to become" kick. It was easy to dismiss him while he was down, since after all, he only had about 6 - 8 really good consistent weeks under his belt. Throw in Andrew's somewhat slow start to this season, and Simmons only had more room to chime in about Andrew's uncertain prospects.
Just two weeks ago, in a podcast with Bucher and Stein, Simmons jabbed at the Lakers for signing Bynum to an extension. Bucher and Stein both defended the move, saying that for the Lakers, they wanted to go ahead and get AB signed, because they knew that he was emotional, and they really didn't want this hanging over his head. Also, Bucher and Stein both also commented on the fact that the Lakers got Bynum at a good price.
Simmons' response was: "A good price for what?" Insinuating that even though we view Bynum as having huge upside, he hasn't really proven himself to be a $40 million man.
To a certain extent he was correct when he made these comments a few weeks ago. However, that doesn't mean that the Lakers were wrong for locking Andrew up, at what will be considered a discount if he continues to improve and show the development we have seen over the past few weeks (and for other stretches earlier in his career).
But now, Simmons is taking jabs where he probably shouldn't I think that in his head, he still has this expectation of Bynum injuring his knee again, missing time, and once again, having to "start over", and potentially losing some of athleticism that will permanently limit aspects of his game.
Injuries can and will happen. But, if Andrew stays healthy, then I expect to happen exactly what I said after that game against Minnesota back in 2006 . . .
Next time, I think I'll just keep my mouth shut.