Mar 11, 2014, 11:47 AM EDT
The Andrew Bynum era is about to begin in Indiana.
While Bynum himself had said he planned to return Friday — in Philadelphia, where he will be poorly received after his non-playing stint there —Pacers coach Frank Vogel up that timeline at shootaround Tuesday.
Coach Vogel reported that Andrew Bynum will play in tonight's game against the Celtics.—
Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) March 11, 2014
Pacers backup center Ian Mahinmi is sidelined with a bruised rib, so Bynum is forced into action a little earlier than expected. He will get backup center minutes (or at least some of them).
Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $70,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Tuesday night’s games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $9,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Tuesday. Here’s the FanDuel link.
Bynum will try to help the Pacers stop a four game skid, one caused by the fact they have gotten away from their defensive identity. In their last five games the Pacers have allowed 111.6 points per 100 possessions, 16 points higher than their season average.
When healthy and focused Bynum is an upgrade over Mahinmi — even in his stint in Cleveland Bynum scored at twice the pace of Mahinmi (15.1 points per 36 minutes for Bynum compared to 7.2 for Mahinmi). Also, Bynum can be a good defensive rim protector when engaged.
Ultimately Mahinmi and Bynum are polar opposites — Mahinmi has limited skill but is known for constant hustle and effort, Bynum has a lot of skill and ability but his effort is questioned as is his desire to play through knee pain. The Cleveland Cavaliers took a flier on Bynum at the start of the season and midway through decided what he brought was not worth $6 million for the second half of the season and shipped him out.
Bynum was a good gamble for Indiana, a $1 million risk that could pay off with a decent backup big man. If not, well, at least he doesn’t join the Heat.
Tonight we see the start of the Bynum era in Indiana, and we start to see if it can last.
- Byron Scott makes ridiculous optimism sound reasonable 26
- Derrick Rose told Carmelo Anthony that if he came to Chicago “the game would be easy” 30
- LeBron James strips on stage, throws clothes into crowd (video) 18
- Is DeMarcus Cousins the big man Team USA can lean on? 14
- Lakers make it official — finally — and hire Byron Scott as head coach 13
- Derrick Rose: “I’ve become a smarter player, but I’m mad it took me seven years to learn it.” 29
- Shelly Sterling beats Donald Sterling in court, clears sale of Clippers to Steve Ballmer 69
- Report: Timberwolves have talked to Sixers about Thaddeus Young as Kevin Love replacement 26