Just like an ex-lover trying to re-connect with you, the enigma known as Andrew Bynum is reportedly attempting to make a comeback to the league. As of this writing, he and his agent are still trying to schedule workouts with teams in hopes of landing a training camp invite or non-guaranteed deal. However, the question that begs to be asked is this – Is there really still a place for Bynum in the modern NBA?
In his prime, Andrew Bynum was a force to be reckoned with in this paint. He possessed the size, strength, and agile footwork to make other big men’s lives a living hell. Since being drafted No. 10 overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in 2005, he went on to spend seven seasons with the Purple and Gold averaging 11.5 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks on 57% shooting from the field.
During the early parts of his playing career, he was widely considered as a top two center, second only to Dwight Howard, whom the Lakers traded him for.
After this deal, he bounced around the league, playing for three other teams, before completely falling out of circulation in 2014. Chronic knee injuries and a poor learning attitude ultimately hampered Bynum from fulfilling his true potential.
Teams branded him as entitled, in spite of all his talents, and many coaches were hesitant to extend anything that resembles a contract. They also felt his behavior would stunt his professional growth, consequently leading him to be a one-dimensional player for his entire career.
Now that burly and back-to-the-basket big men are no longer a necessity, Does Bynum provide enough value to make an impact on today’s game? More importantly, does he possess the drive to help transition his skills to the next level?
My answer here is no.
At present, the NBA has evolved into a positionless game. Teams that are currently finding success playing with a lightning-quick pace, rely a ton on three-point shooting and have players who can play multiple positions. Bynum provides none of these values. Add in the fact that he’s been out of the league for four years, with no reports of working out or joining any league, and you have a recipe for disaster.
The main arrow in his quiver – to post up and get to the hole – is an outdated talent. Nowadays, opposing teams would just send a double team and wait for him to take a contested shot or turn the ball over. He doesn’t have the presence of mind to kick out to open shooters, which is what a lot of bigs today tend to do when placed in this situation.
On the defensive end, rival centers that are much craftier would just step out beyond the arc, to draw him out of the shaded area, or use their agility to drive to the basket. Ultimately, I don’t see him keeping up with the speed or having a skill that overly compensates for this weakness.
Right now, he may be working on his outside shooting and looks to be in good shape, but these may not be enough to ensure a smooth transition. Sad as it may seem, it could be four years too late for one of the NBA’s supposed premier talents.