andrewFinally, there is a legitimate third candidate to represent the Lakers in Cowboy Stadium for this year’s All-Star game along with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

And, no, it’s not Lamar Odom.

Certainly, Odom deserves to be an All-Star, and it wouldn’t be improbable for Laker Nation’s Candy Man. But since the West is stocked with All-Star type forwards, it would be a pretty tall order for L.O. Guys like LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Durant and Carlos Boozer weren’t even on the team last year, and that only shows how tough it would be to crack a spot on the roster that already counts Dirk, Tim and Pau every year.

But at the center spot, 22 year old Andrew Bynum is slowly working towards becoming one of the best big men in the game to go along with his bowling skills. Without question, he has had moments that suggest his skills and promise, and barring injuries, this looks like the year that he has long awaited for – a solid year that he can play completely through, and one in which he can claim his spot as perhaps the top center in the West.

Even Dime Magazine’s Austin Burton says, “If any West center will complete a three-man bid for his team, it’ll be Andrew Bynum going with Kobe and Pau Gasol.”

Indeed, it is early in the season. As Phil said after the Hawk game last Sunday, they still aren’t able to complete games, as they have had stretches where they have let opponents go on runs that were often off Laker turnovers. They are also still on a learning curve as far as playing with Ron Artest, who had his best defensive game that Sunday, limiting Joe Johnson to nine points after Johnson exploded for 18 in the first quarter.

And with Gasol sidelined maybe until Sunday, Bynum has had his share of touches, consistently averaging 54.9% in field goal percentage.

And on the night the New York Yankees clinch their 27th World Championship against the Philadelphia Phillies, Andrew has improved on his double-double average, with 20 ppg. and 10.6 rpg. In Wednesday’s game against the Rockets, with our old buddy Trevor Ariza trying to one-up his old team, Drew’s line was 17 and 17, and despite getting blocked by Trevor from behind, he has shown that he is capable to pick up the slack for Pau on both ends.

Should Bynum continue this type of production, it will be a huge jump from his totals last year of 14.3 ppg. on 56% in field goal shooting.

Featuring Bynum has been in large part to his teammates’ ability to feed him the ball in areas where he can easily throw it down, or in spots where he can create for himself. Bryant and Lamar Odom, in particular, have shown the willingness to let their young center exploit his height advantage in mismatches with creative lobs and drop passes for easy scoring opportunities.

But in fairness (to the Laker fans, for the most part), this is the type of stat line to expect for a starting center with a four-year, $58 million contract. And with the loss of Yao Ming this season, it is all the more reason for Andrew to take the opportunity to step up and assert his claim to be an All-Star.

Bynum should and will be a very integral part of the Lakers’ schemes on both ends, with his size and physicality. He is expected to be that other person besides Artest to really bang down low and punish people, and as the last line of defense, he is responsible for denying opponents points in the paint.

Seeing as how he said that getting the Championship ring on opening night was “the best gift I’ve ever gotten,” he will look to have his own signature moments late in the regular season and the Playoffs.

The recent decision to no longer train with the legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar can be interpreted two ways; that Bynum is being disrespectful and arrogant by refusing such an honor, or that it is a step towards maturity, that he intends to figure things out on his own by working out on his own pace.

Perhaps the truth is more in the latter. After all, he has already experienced both losing and winning in the Finals. Now should be the time to show us what he has learned.

  • daboss1849

    isn’t going to happen this year bynum sorry…

  • Sean All Ivy

    Absolutely it’s going to happen this year Bynum, congrats…

    There are really no other big time marketable centers in the west and Bynum is playing hungry.

  • Whatsa

    What? I didn’t know it was Bynum’s decision to not want to train? I thought Kareem thought he was done and wanted to train other centers like the one in Memphis.

  • kb24mamba4ever

    still wish he was training under Kareem, but hey. there aren’t that many other top-flight centers in the West anyway, so there’s no reason Bynum can’t make the team….

  • Short Dog

    All Star or not. He’s putting it down and giving 100% every game. I give props to bynum for being considered as an All Star.
    Even more props if he makes it.
    Kick some ass tonight Lakers. Kick some ass.

  • The Mamba24

    He might not make the All-star team coz his stats and playing time might fall when Pau returns.

  • samiam

    Bynum has no respect for his fans. At the bridge theatres, it was pretty much empty. He was taking some photos with some folks for about 1 minute, with no one else around I went up to ask him for a photo. He just said nah, turned around and left.

    I’m a huge laker and basketball fan. This was the day after his bday on opening night.

    He really needs to learn who pays his bills, and he wouldn’t have the life he has without the fans that show up and watch every game.

    I know that he cant take photos with everyone, but its not like there was anyone else around or a mob around him or anything.

    Now I hope the Lakers win the championship, but I would prefer that Bynum not be part of it, or hope that he will grow up. I’m still his fan (cuz hes a laker), but everyone else around that night truly hates him with a passion.

  • WifelovesLuke

    Bynum wouldn’t take a picture with you so you hope he isn’t a part of another Championship? I think the growing up part needs to happen both ways.

    The amount of pushing and pulling that pro athletes get from fans can be draining. Maybe he was just flat out tired and really wanted to get going. Remember that he’s still a kid learning how to be a man in a world you and I could never understand. Oh and by the way, people had the same view of Kareem back in the day so this is nothing new.

  • wilzuvsteel

    Honestly I think all Lakers fans me included know Bynum is not a dominant center that warrants all star status. His game is so so and really can’t jump to take advantage of his height. Put him against Howard and Oden and you’ll see him in serious foul trouble and single digits in offense. His defense is suspect at this point and really needs to think out there. He looked terrible against the Rockets and the old injury bug hit him again. But since the West is lacking centers of any high caliber even we as Lakers fans feel obligated to push him to All star status. This alone tells you he’s not really an all star. Who is pushing for Kobe to try to make the all star team? We don’t have too right? So for me I’d settle for him to play his role and not get all caught up in him trying to take on more than he can chew.

    • desecrator93

      I agree with this. Even though he might make the All Star team, its really by default since the real guys who should make it are injured. He still has too many holes in his game, particularly defensively and a good number offensively, to be considered a legit All star. Not sayin he cant become one, but as of how he is playin right now, hes not played like a legit one.

      • WifelovesLuke

        Tim Duncan averages 20 and 10 and is an All Star so if Bynum averages 20 and 10 at the center position, he is easily representing the West this year.

    • LakersFirst

      I know its early, but do you guys realize that Bynum is tied for having the most double doubles this season.

      Do you guys also realize that the only player in the NBA that is averaging more points AND rebounds per game than Bynum is Chris Bosh. Not even Dwight Howard is beating Bynum in both categories (although he is close)

      And to say he looked terrible against the Rockets .. if 17 pts 17 rbs, 3 blocks and 5 assists is terrible, then I’ll take terrible everytime.

      And to mention Oden as a player that will Bynum problems similar to that of Dwight Howard is a joke!! Do you realize Oden is averaging only 7 ppg and 10 rbs per game! and he’s was the #1 OVERALL pick. He’s proving to be a bust. Compare that to Bynum who was taking 10th in his draft, Bynum is the more productive player.

    • WifelovesLuke

      Terrible against the Rockets? 17 points and 17 rebounds!!! And makes the game winning free throw with a sprained elbow. HIS SHOOTING ELBOW!!! WTF are you talking about.

      Oh, and Oden has not shown to be a serious threat as of yet. Now that Bynum has healthy legs, Oden won’t have the footwork to cause serious problems for Drew.

  • daboss1849

    Hopefully he can become an allstar this year and Lebron forces a sign and trade with the lakers in july. They would be stupid to let Lebron walk and not get a young all star center and fluffer for nothing.

    • Short Dog

      What’s up porno freak. Does your mom know about your little addiction.

      • daboss1849

        No she doesn’t but your mom knows about my porno addiction 1st hand. best blowjob i ever received, it was nice she was missing some teeth…

  • kobe-wan kenobi

    lets hope he stays healthy
    does not look like

  • lakers#1

    Andrew Bynum’s definitely deserves the all star selection. I think he is better than dwight howard in my opinion.

    • uriel

      Then, my friend, you are retarded