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76ers’ Wright says Bynum is better than Dwight Howard

Sep 26, 2012, 7:14 PM EDT

Orlando Magic v Los Angeles Lakers Getty Images

We are still in the honeymoon period with Andrew Bynum in Philadelphia. Fans love him. Teammates love him. Coaches are excited about ways they can use him in the offense.

That honeymoon will end, it always does. Ask every Philadelphia sports hero. It will be interesting to see how Bynum handles it when things turn, when the tabloids smack him around a little.

But we are not there yet. Until then, it is strawberries and champagne and the beach in Fiji. It is a honeymoon. And among those insanely happy people to be playing with Bynum in Philly is Dorell Wright.

Wright went way over the top speaking to the Philadelphia Inquirer, saying Bynum is better than Dwight Howard.

“He’s going to need two defenders to stop him; I would say he’s the best big man in the NBA right now, hands down,” Wright, speaking at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, said. “He’s a guy that can give you baskets with his back to the basket; a guy who makes free throws at 7-feet. You’ve just got to respect him.”

The reporter gave Wright an out and said is this because Howard is coming off back surgery?

“No way, I’d say it any day. It’s because I know he can put his back to the basket and give us a basket and request a double team and make free throws,” Wright continued. “It’s his all-around game. Hopefully he can stay healthy and we can ride, he can put us on his back and he can take us as far as we can go.”

Dorell, you are wrong. Well meaning, but flat out wrong.

No doubt Bynum opens up the Sixers offense and is going to make things better. I don’t want to demean Bynum here, I like the guy. And if you just look at the offensive stats Bynum and Howard are comparable — Bynum averaged 1.03 points per possession last season, Howard .97 but with a higher percentage of the team offense run through him. In the post they were almost identical (.88 and .89 points per possession). Howard is better as the roll man when he gets the ball back, and he draws more fouls. But it all evens out because Howard shot 49 percent from the free throw line, while Bynum was 71 percent. There is no hack-a-Bynum.

Honestly, the offensive numbers are pretty much a wash.

But there are two key areas where Howard is superior. One, consistency of effort. Until the back injury and whatever went down at the end of Howard’s time in Orlando, the guy brought it every night. You gut his best effort. Bynum… let’s just say the Lakers intentionally tried to get him touches early in the game so he wouldn’t go on mental walkabout some nights. When challenged (like facing Howard) Bynum was there and ready, but that wasn’t every night.

Second is defense — Howard is a flat out better defender. While opponents overall shooting numbers are again similar against them watch the film and you see Howard blow up pick-and-rolls and recover much faster than Bynum, who often sits back on those. Howard is faster weak side to strong. Bottom line is Howard is more fleet of foot and uses that to be a far more disruptive defensive presence than Bynum. Again, don’t get me wrong, Bynum is a good defender and the Sixers paint protection just got better. But Howard is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year for a reason.

But Dorell, it’s a free country. Believe whatever you want.

  1. fanz928 - Sep 26, 2012 at 7:22 PM

    Dwight would destroy Bynum the only reason Bynum was in the allstar game because everyone was old. Bynum not consistent Dwight is consistent and just work harder. Who like Bynum and his lazy ass

  2. isujames - Sep 26, 2012 at 7:24 PM

    Yes he is, in NBA2K12.

  3. lakerade - Sep 26, 2012 at 7:31 PM

    dorell wrong

  4. dalucks - Sep 26, 2012 at 7:37 PM

    In my opinion, I would agree. Dwight was the first option in Orlando while Andre was the 2nd option in LA and Dwight scores 2 more points and 2 more rebounds than Andre. Andre is a better free throw shooter and he has a better jumpshot but Dwight is love by the media for his goofy demeanor and stupid impersonations. As a Laker fan, I have never bought into the Dwight propaganda like most people because I can see through his bs. Only time will tell but I think the Lakers will have buyer’s remorse after trading for damaged goods. People think the Lakers got an overhyped Dwight Howard but they might have Brad Daughtery 2.0. Again, time will tell.

  5. rocketsbb - Sep 26, 2012 at 8:01 PM

    You mean AndreW Bynum?

  6. nycalldayz - Sep 26, 2012 at 8:25 PM

    “Dorell, you are wrong. Well meaning, but flat out wrong. But Dorell, it’s a free country. Believe whatever you want.” Kurt, the same can be said about you. I’m sure visitors on this site disagree with your articles or believe your bias. C’mon. lol

  7. moseskkim - Sep 26, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    Dorrell kept using the same argument (drew can make his free throws). That doesn’t make him a better overall player. I would worry about Howard’s free throw shooting but shaq winning multiple championships tells me it’s not a huge factor. And yeah on defense it’s not even close. Plus excitement factor and marketability. Better looks. Overall been more healthy. D12 is much better in most facets.

    • davidly - Sep 27, 2012 at 7:58 AM

      FT shooting is a bigger factor when you consider all the ways in comes into play in overall strategy, especially down the stretch. Instead of focusing on O’Neal’s multiple championships, look at the times he was so very close to another one, for example, during his biggest run following his three-peat.

      When you look at the Lakers vs. Spurs in 2003 and the Lakers vs. Pistons in 2004; those were two series that might have gone longer had Shaq not been so dismal at the line in a couple of those games. Those being such monster series for him otherwise, it’s too easy to forget how much more dominant he could have been if he had been more likely to make the opponents pay at the strip – that is, not just more likely to make the shot, but also KNOWN TO BE a consistent FT shooter.

      For example, against Detroit in ’04 when O’Neal missed seven free throws and they lost by eight. Or, conversely, in ’03 when LA beat the Spurs by four and Shaq was a, for him, amazing 17-23 from the line. At 4-7 in the next game, they lost by a measly two points. You just can’t miss three of seven free shots in that important a game.

      Not to mention the Orlando finals and his washout following the championship in Miami. Given all his opportunities, might he have won at least one more title as a 70-80 percent career FT shooter?

      This is not to say that it is “Shaq’s fault”. Only there might be more to free throws than meets the eye.

      • michaeljordanseviltwin - Sep 27, 2012 at 11:33 AM

        The Lakers don’t need Dwight Howard’s offense… they didn’t need Bynum’s that much either. They need defense. Dwight is a one man wrecking crew on D, capable of carrying an entire team to a #1 or 2 ranking defense. I’m pretty sure Nash, Kobe, Gasol can handle the offense down the stretch.

  8. eugenesaxe - Sep 26, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    Health issues aside, I’d rather have Bynum. He wants more responsibility, howard wants more help. If Bynum shows he deserves to call Philly “HIS team”, and that he’s maturing while howard regresses…

  9. rmfields - Sep 26, 2012 at 8:42 PM

    Honestly, though, the gap isn’t THAT big between them. I’d say it’s Howard, Bynum not far behind, then a BIG gap between Bynum and the next best center in the league.

    But hey, if any comparison can be made between the best centers in the game, it’s between Howard and Bynum.

  10. rmfields - Sep 26, 2012 at 8:44 PM

    Sun, Dec 16. Mark it in your calendars. Lakers at Sixers. We’ll find out then.

  11. opinevain - Sep 26, 2012 at 9:32 PM

    As a Laker fan, we traded for effort and defensive prowess. If Bynum played with F**** to give, then he would be better

  12. crtzinc - Sep 26, 2012 at 9:51 PM

    It’s funny but I guess rather sad how some people are completely oblivious to the point of this article. Some will spin this as an intended pro Laker article to stick it to those who believe Kurt has a bias against the Lakers, when in reality he is simply talking about the difference in players and not their respective teams.

  13. jimsjam33 - Sep 27, 2012 at 12:18 AM

    I’m really excited about Bynum . I hear his coach has green lighted his practice time at the three point line . Coaching staff had better get ready for his crying antics and juvenile behavior . I’ll give him three games before he starts ignoring the coach during time outs and side line coaching . Bynum will give a 25 point 20 rebound game one night and a 4 points 2 rebound game the next. He’s a Jekyll and Hyde monster in a 76er uniform . The Lakers knew what they were during when they cut this cancer from their lethargic carcass , They may have another cancer on their hands with Howard , but this still remains the unknown . Bynum was given several years to grow up and failed . He still walks around with a ” binkie ” in his mouth and he has tandrums when staff tries to take his security blanket from him prior to games . Here’s to you Philadephia . Next time be careful what you ask for .

  14. chargrz - Sep 27, 2012 at 12:40 AM

    He is definitely Lazier!

  15. 00maltliquor - Sep 27, 2012 at 3:53 AM

    Dorell Wright ain’t out of mind for saying that, what’s with the sarcastic tone of this article! Sheesh!

  16. davidly - Sep 27, 2012 at 7:01 AM

    You might say that Wright was just saying what a teammate would or should. But consider this:
    When you are playing with the guy, you see things that others don’t and are inspired in a way that others are not.

    Time will (maybe) tell in the long run. Obviously, up to mid-last season, Howard was winning the injury lotto. But might his consistent effort advantage have been a reflection of his crucial role in their offense? It’s one thing to knock a guy who doesn’t seem to go all out when he “ain’t the man”. But how would Howard have responded to not being the man? We just may find out. He might not pout, but his numbers just might come down to earth.

    As to Wright’s beliefs? Well, a greater number of NBAers actually believe that a man from Nazareth changed wine into blood and actually believe that Yemeni woman and children getting blown to bits has some relationship to their “freedom”. So I wouldn’t lay too much on any one person’s particular beliefs.

    But Wright is gonna be playing side by side with the man, so, for his particular purposes, Wright just may be right.

    • somekat - Sep 27, 2012 at 3:31 PM

      this is true from little league. Guys that don’t touch the ball, after a while, their effort level drops. Guys that do touch the ball, even if it’s just to move it on to the next guy, tend to be more in the game and at max effort. It doesn’t surprise me that Bynum, especially in his earlier years, didn’t get 100% effort while he was watching Kobe and Gasol dominate the ball. It also doesn’t surprise me that as he started getting older, those issues because less prevalent.

      On that reasoning, I’d think the effort will be there for Bynum, because he’ll always be the focus. It remains to be seen if Howard will give the same effort on D while getting half the touches (if he’s lucky) on offense.

      A major adjustment for both guys, but I don’t see how people can act like Howard is head and shoulders above Bynum. He put up similar offensive numbers as a 3rd option that Howard did as a first. He got a few less boards, in a conference with many more quality bigs, and Gasol grabbing boards next to him.

      If you ask me who I’d want to be on the current Lakers team, I’d take Howard. If you asked me who I’d rather start a team with, it would be Bynum, without hesistation.

  17. tsi431 - Sep 27, 2012 at 7:04 AM

    As a Laker fan I actually would have preferred Bynum, but the Lakers needed to make a change and with what was available, it was the only move. Bynum may be a little more immature, but not by much.

    • 00maltliquor - Sep 27, 2012 at 2:29 PM

      Where’s the thumbs up 10x button when you need one?

  18. skids003 - Sep 27, 2012 at 8:56 AM

    They are both a couple of cry baby divas. They’ll both meltdown before the years over.

  19. liamj55 - Sep 27, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    Kurt Helin by the end of the year you will be flat out wrong. But Kurt, it’s a free country. Believe whatever you want.

  20. succulentnipples - Sep 27, 2012 at 9:37 AM

    1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6ers.

  21. bucrightoff - Sep 27, 2012 at 10:44 AM

    Bynum is undoubtably the better offensive player. And somehow he’s the more mature player. I honestly think I’d rather have Bynum long-term, and maybe Dwight for just this year and next.

  22. michaeljordanseviltwin - Sep 27, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    I can’t believe this is even a debate. The Lakers already landed Nash, a guy who runs the league’s most efficient offense year after year. The area they now lack in is defense; Nash can’t guard anybody, Kobe and MWP have slipped, Gasol is slow footed. So guess what, they go and trade for Dwight Howard, a man capable of turning a 20 ranked defense into a #1 defense.

    If you think Bynum is a better player because of his offense or free throw shooting then fine… but you can’t possibly think he’s a better fit for the Lakers. Even offensively. Nash was the #1 pick and roll ball handler last year and Howard was the #1 picker. This team is going to be great.

    • limonadamas - Sep 27, 2012 at 3:23 PM

      Totally agree. And not counting his recent back injury, Dwight has proven to be a lot more durable than Bynum. Last season was Bynum’s first one (with major minutes) that didn’t involve a catastrophic knee injury. People seem to have forgotten this. If Bynum ends up having another major injury down the line, the Lakers definitely sold high. Some guys just have loose ligaments or something.

      • somekat - Sep 27, 2012 at 3:25 PM

        A knee is fixable in this day and age. A bad back is a bad back. They are rarely every totally fixed. If you think he’s a better fit (and he is), that is fine. But to act like Howard’s injury was a minor back issue is a joke.

      • limonadamas - Sep 27, 2012 at 4:21 PM

        lol.. No one said Howard’s injury was a “minor back issue.” All I’m saying is that prior to last season, every time Bynum pivoted awkwardly, every Laker fan held their breath. Some guys’ bodies just betray them, especially with the physical forces placed on their joints.

        Time will tell who ends up more durable from here on out. Who knows? You might be right. After all, Ilgauskas remained durable for a long time. But for every Ilgauskas, there’s a Yao.

    • somekat - Sep 27, 2012 at 3:23 PM

      Where did anyone say that Howard wasn’t a better fit for the Lakers, or even imply that it was a bad trade for the Lakers.

      The only statement he made is that he thinks Bynum is the better overall player. Me thinks since you have no rebuttal to that (since it’s true), you decided to make up a entirely differnt quote and attack that.

      Do you work on Obama’s campaign?

      • tcclark - Sep 27, 2012 at 7:43 PM

        Wow there were like 6 different burns in that short comment. Well done sir. Well done

      • chicagofan - Oct 2, 2012 at 4:10 PM

        Spoken like a true Romney supporting 47%er–to stupid to know he was talking about your dumbass!

  23. geo59 - Sep 27, 2012 at 6:43 PM

    Personally, as a long-time Lakers fan, I was disappointed in the trade. I like Bynum’s game and persona better than Howard’s. Andrew is a true big-man, much longer than Howard and stronger. As the article points out, there’s not much difference in their numbers. Bynum has more upside than Howard. However, it may be that Bynum needed to leave the Lakers to realize his full potential. Don’t be surprised if 2 years from now everyone will be agreeing with Wright’s assessment. I agree with it now and would never have traded for Howard. Howard will find someway to cause trouble. Andrew would have benefited greatly from having a great point guard (Nash).

    • tcclark - Sep 27, 2012 at 7:45 PM

      We’ll see that this year with Jrue Holiday. He’s not on the same level as Nash quite yet, but a Bynum/Holiday or Bynum/Turner Pick and Roll is going to be great to watch.

  24. tfoz5150 - Sep 28, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    Amen, brutha!

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