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Lakers may bench Andrew Bynum

Feb 11, 2010, 8:29 AM EDT

bynum.jpgIf there has been one chink in the Lakers armor this year, it has been bench play — what last year was an intimidating bench mob is this year an unimpressive bench sewing circle.

One potential fix — starting Lamar Odom and bringing Andrew Bynum off the bench.

“My coaches are kind of pushing me in that direction, but I’m not ready yet to do that,” (Lakers coach Phil) Jackson said. “We won last year with Andrew when he came back at the end of the season, going out there and playing the first quarter and starting the games. Even though he wasn’t 100 percent when came back off his injury last year, he still gave us a lot; he gives us a big front. So I have to measure that and see what’s going to happen with this team in the next couple weeks.”

This is a shot across Bynum’s bow, a warning. It’s an acknowledgement that Bynum and Pau Gasol have yet to really play well together. Bynum’s confidence game-to-game is based around early offensive success — if he gets early touches and a few hoops his defense and rebounding improve. But when Gasol is in and he gets those touches, Bynum goes into a shell and is not the same player, he turns into Eric Dampier.

Meanwhile, Lamar Odom and Gasol mesh beautifully, as evidenced by the last two wins without Bynum and Kobe Bryant. Bynum and Kobe can be the big culprits in why the Lakers offense “sticks,” why the ball movement stops. Bynum can be a black hole — the ball goes in and does not come out. He is not an accomplished passer. Odom may be maddeningly inconsistent, but having two good passing big men makes the triangle offense hum.

Lakers fans have a love/hate relationship with Bynum that clearly the coaches do as well. No doubt the Lakers need him to win a title — they will need his size against Denver, they will need his defense against Dwight Howard or Shaq if they make the finals. He is a matchup nightmare.

But can he bring those things from the bench? Objectively, yes. Because he would be the first guy off the bench doesn’t mean he can’t finish games if he is playing well (and the matchups are right). But Bynum is a young player still in the “I need to get mine” mentality — hence the need for early touches to be effective.

How would he ego handle coming off the bench? It may well be what’s best for the team on paper, but if it causes Bynum to go into his shell every game then it is no good. Phil would like Bynum to realize what is best for the team, and make the offer (like Luke Walton did last season when he told Jackson to start Trevor Ariza ahead of him). But Bynum probably is not mature enough for that. The Lakers need the good Bynum for the playoffs, and starting him may be the sacrifice to make sure that Bynum shows up.

  1. observer - Feb 12, 2010 at 12:10 AM

    To watch NBA games with a balanced attitude: better team wins will help one’s inmune system. All the comments are useful to the team. like play team ball is a very good advice. Kobe was doimg that more than his first few years with Laker. Triangle was a good play pattern.To play this day in and day out definitly tips off the other teams. To play a team ball require team members to have muted understanding of each other. Like they played the last 3 games.The offense play by the team with teamball,should be so fluid, like mercury flows. It can be everywhere with the opposing team always guessing where and what is going to happen. If the other team likes to play fast,slow them down. If they slow down to play half court, break out their offense by fast breaking.It is easy to say than doing. Bynum is young needs time to graw with Laker. Laker does not needs to do trading. They have quality flayers. They need to play together more to learn each other-to finding the chemistry or glue together.

  2. MLB - Feb 13, 2010 at 8:44 PM

    I love my lakers but I would take Lebron over Kobe any day. When are people going to wake up and see Kobe for who he really is. He doesn’t care about his team, his coaches the fans…no one. He only cares about his own legacy. He ballhogs on probably the most talented team I have ever seen. Lebron on this team would be lights out a true dynasty with a true leader. Kobe may be more talented than Lebron but he’s not a better basketball player, certainly not as smart. I hope he’s taking this time out to see how he could fit in and make his team better because if he comes back and plays like he’s been playing all year….there will be a party in June for the Cavs.

  3. sT - Feb 14, 2010 at 12:21 AM

    Bynum would destroy any other team’s 2nd unit Center for sure, night after night, and maybe even be a 20-10 guy off the bench. I would like to see Phil Jackson try it for a while, just to see what happens, we know what would happen to the 1st unit, that has been proven over and over again, Gasol and Odom have always clicked in the Triangle offense, perfectly since day 1 together.

  4. shaqqy - Feb 15, 2010 at 8:10 PM

    shaqqy is a beast a betta than cobe brian

  5. Kristofer Fiorito - Feb 21, 2010 at 1:24 PM

    Wonderful submit on recursion as I had no idea about it myself, until now that is, many thanks!

  6. Wilbert Hemmann - Mar 5, 2010 at 4:53 PM

    I am thinking about buying a steam cleaner. I hope to vacuum less with the cleaner, is this possible with pets? What does everyone think?

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