Andrew Bynum, all seven feet of him with that 7’6” wingspan, had three rebounds in the win over the Bucks. That’s the same number he had in the game against Chicago the night before. He had four against Utah to start this road trip.
Those numbers are, um, to be kind, unimpressive. There are some mitigating factors, starting with Phil Jackson saying Bynum has not felt well recently. Then there was Brad Miller pulling him away from the post in Chicago and the jumpshooting Bucks leaving long rebounds in Milwaukee. But that is not all of the problems.
To see what is really going on, I tracked Bynum’s rebound chances through the Bucks game, and the results showed that it’s not just one thing, but a lot of little things adding up. What follows is Bynum’s chances in the second half and overtime in the game against Milwaukee. (Not every missed shot is included, there were times Bynum was in a good position on one side of the rim and the ball just bounced another, and listing all those becomes a lesson in tediousness.)
11:04 Third Quarter: This has happened a fair amount in this game, Bynum was defending on Bogut (who was faced up on him 10 feet out). He did his primary job, contesting the shot, then turned to rebound but several steps away from the basket. The missed shot fell right off uncontested to Gasol (who did not have to jump to get it).
10:43 Third Quarter: Ilyasova takes a 20 foot jumper, and Bynum does a solid job boxing out Bogut on the left (weak) side, with Bynum’s feet on the charge circle so he is close to the basket, and Ron Artest slides right up behind Bogut. The problem for Drew is the long shot means a long rebound so while he jumps it goes over his head. It almost goes over Bogut, too, but he is just long enough to grab the board (Artest knocks the ball out of bounds).
10:05 Third Quarter: Ilyasova gets the ball 20 feet out and Gasol goes out to cover, so Ilyasova drives right past him into the lane. Fisher and Bynum rotate to take away the shot, and the result was Ilyasova trying a floater that was not a real quality shot. But when Bynum stepped out nobody (and it was Artest’s job, although he had a long way to go) picked up Bogut, who had sort of hidden on the baseline then stepped out for good position and the easy putback.
9:20 Third Quarter: Lakers have the ball and Fisher takes a 15-footer from the wing, which he misses. As the shot goes up, Bynum puts a body on Bogut and clears out a good sized space for himself to get the board, but Bynum jumps too early and Bogut, moving around the Bynum box out, jumps later and gets the offensive board. This one is on Drew, that could have been an offensive rebound.
7:52 Third Quarter: This happened a lot, too, both against the Bucks and the Bulls. Bynum was out contesting a 19-footer off the pick and roll, so he was in no position to get the rebounds. That is the right play (unless said shooter sucks).
7:18 Third Quarter: Bynum is in good position but the ball bounces over to where Kobe is. (Just wanted to put one of these in.)
5:46 Third Quarter: Again Bynum comes out to the middle of the key to challenge penetration, so he is out of position for the rebound but was making the right play. Gasol gets the board.
5:24 Third Quarter: Apparently princes from Cameroon cannot consistently hit the 15-foot baseline jumper, and the Bucks have nobody underneath to go get the rebounds. Bynum and Kobe are the only two in the area, Bynum grabs the uncontested rebound.
4:40: Third Quarter: Lakers with the ball and Gasol takes a 16-footer straight away. Bynum is in position to fight if it comes off to the left. It goes right. But what is interesting here is Ron Artest was also on the left, slides under the basket and does fight, all the way to the baseline with Bogut for the ball (it goes out off Artest). Ron-Ron showed passion, he wanted it. Bynum’s rebounds tended to come because the ball went to him, not because he fought for it.
11:44 Fourth Quarter: Kobe with a elbow fade away from the right side and Bynum is in position for the offensive board, but with Warrick and Ilyasova right with him. Bynum’s length forces Warrick to overextend, and it goes out of bounds off Warrick to the Lakers.
11:23 Fourth Quarter: Little thing here, but part of the larger point. Redd misses the second of his two free throw. The man next to Bynum just clears out back in transition defense, so Bynum has nobody to box out. But rather than step in and get the board, he kind of slides up the key to a no mans land, Odom steps in and grabs the easy board.
4:46 Overtime: Bogut has the ball and is working on Bynum on the left block. He fakes a move to his right into the lane then makes a quick spin move back to his preferred left and tries a five foot jump-hook he misses. Bynum contests but then watches the shot while Bogut busts around him to get the rebounds and when it comes off Bogut is inside Bynum, gets the board to keeps the play alive.
3:55 Overtime: Redd takes the patented Joel Meyer short corner three, this time Bynum finds a man (Ilyasova) to put a body on and gets good inside position, so good that even the charging in Bogut could not get the ball, although they did knock it away from Drew to Gasol. This may have been Bynum’s most energetic play of the night, not sure if he got credit for the official board but he made it possible holding off two men.
2:20 Overtime: Charlie Bell with the 17 footer and both Bynum and Gasol are in position, along with Bogut. Still it is the Australian who fights though two Lakers to control the ball and reset their offense.