Tracking Andrew Bynum

Kurt —  December 28, 2009

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What is up with Andrew Bynum’s shot? In his last three games he is shooting 38.5% at the rim, although he is 2-4 from the rim out to 10 feet (Bynum rarely shoots beyond that range). In the last five games that improves to 57.9% at he rim (thanks to a good showing of 5 of 6 against Detroit) but that number is still low for what you would hope he could do. And this doesn’t even bring up the questions of rebounds and defense.

Things can change fast, the back-to-back that starts tonight is one where Bynum can break out — the Suns and Warriors cannot handle him on the block, he has had success there before. These are the games that could boost his confidence.

What needs to change? Last night I rewatched the last two Lakers games, simply tracking Bynum, and here are a few notes:

• He’s just missing shots he can make. For the most part, these are not terrible shots, they are 5 to 9 foot jump hooks or other shots where he is single and sometimes double covered, but stuff he can make. He’s just not. Call it a shooting slump or a confidence issue or if you want blame Dr. Facilier’s black magic (hey, I have young daughters, what movie did you think I watched this weekend?). Whatever the reason, he is missing shots he can make.

Perfect example, the Lakers first possession against the Kings: Gasol is out at the three point line and feeds Bynum on the left mid-block, then makes his cut baseline and moves through. Bynum waits for the double but it never comes hard (Kobe has slid over as the three point release for Bynum and people are afraid to double off Kobe for some reason), so Bynum makes his move to the middle on Spencer Hawes and gets a good look 8 footer that rims out (Gasol tips it in).

• At times he seems to try to do a little too much. Not trusting the simple jump hook to fall, there are moments he seems to try to put on a couple moves when one would do. Again against Hawes on Boxing Day, Bynum had the ball on the low block and tried a fake middle, spin back through move but Hawes does a good job just keeping a body on a body. Bynum drops the ball, picks it up and tries to dribble again and gets called for it.

• On defense, he has been inconsistent at protecting the rim, and had some bad luck. A couple times he was back on Tyreke Evans and forced him to alter his shot, it’s just that Evans is a wizard and makes them anyway. But then there was when Ime Udoka drives and Bynum picks him up forcing him baseline, but Udoka stopped, spun back into the paint and with a head fake got Bynum up and out of position, The result was basically a layup.

• Drew is passing, and I don’t just mean that beautiful three-quarter court baseball pass to Kobe last game.

If the double team comes early, Bynum usually recognizes it and makes the pass to the right relief point (and often good shots ensue). But if the double comes once he puts the ball on the floor and starts his move, he is pretty likely to shoot, once his mind is made up he just goes.

• Bynum’s one basket against Sacramento is something I’d like to see him do more of (and get touches that way). He is the big on the weak side of the triangle and when the ball swings out top again he goes from low to high post and gets the ball from Adam Morrison at the elbow. Ammo then runs the standard little rub cut off he big — essentially a pick and roll action — and Bynum hands the ball off to him, but now both defenders go out on Ammo to trap and cut him off (I’m not sure that was great player recognition by the Kings), so Bynum rolls to the hoop, gets the pass back and has a clear path. I think he can be effective in that role more.



21 responses to Tracking Andrew Bynum

  1. Bynum is fine, it’s just a slump.

    Maybe we see more of Ammo tonight. This is his chance to prove all of us wrong.

  2. Ron Artest will not be playing for the Lakers tonight, he will be re-evaluated for tomorrow against Golden State.

  3. I personally never worry about Andrew’s scoring. We’ve proven that Bynum’s scoring isn’t needed nearly as much as his defense. With Kobe, Gasol, Artest and Odom off the bench we have enough scoring. Where I get annoyed with Bynum is his slow rotations. He’s almost never in the right position when guards get in the lane which results in him fouling a lot. He’s constantly in foul trouble.

    His on the ball defense is fine, but there are too many times were I see our breakdowns on defense are due to him. We were able to get Kareem to work with his offensive game, it would be nice to get someone to work with him on his defensive rotations and getting in the right position to contest shots without fouling.

  4. Rudy, I agree about the scoring. His defensive rotations were really hit and miss. There were times he made great plays, then two trips later was just asleep at the wheel.

  5. The one that bugs me about Bynum is the way he labors up and down the court. For a guy who said he was running 6 minute miles in the summer he sure looks slow/non-chalant/out of shape. I know it’s been reported that he’s had a respiratory illness and asthma but it seems he could at least put forth the hustle and effort of someone who has something to prove (i.e. that he is an All-Star). Where’s the heart, the fire, the ganas?

  6. i know some dont like talking about it but why wouldnt we add someone like stackhouse on the veterans minimum, clearly our bench needs a bolt

  7. If anyone has watched Stackhouse last season (all 10 games he played), you’d know he’s not going to boost anybody’s bench. He shot 29%, he’s 35 and not getting better. If you can get me the 2005 Stackhouse, sure, but time marches on. There is a reason nobody has picked this guy up.

  8. Speaking of the bench, when is Walton due back? I am concerned about Kobe’s minutes (and other issues).

  9. What game are you guys watching. Bynam is averaging 6 rebounds a game over the last 9 games. That is 5th on the team behind Koby even. At 7 foot 280 and 10 mill a year shouldn”t we expect more? This guy is lazy and only works on offense and now that is gone. He was over hyped and overated by the LA media but reality is right now he is playing like a 17 year old rookie.

  10. Ken, he’s slumping, and his offense effects the rest of his game, but to say “lazy” is overly simplistic.

  11. 2 or 3 games is a slump. This is 9 in a row. And how do you slump with rebounds. Watch how many times on defense he is running the other way instead of going for the rebound. That is not a slump. KBrown has better numbers for Detroit the last 9 games. Ouch!

  12. Go back a few posts, I broke down his rebounds. Again, part of it is effort, but tonight he was on Amare for chunks, a guy you have to step out to the 18 foot line with or he will bury the shot. Same with Hawes two nights ago. Drew has to protect the rim if the defense breaks down, so sometimes he is pulled out of the lane. Effort is certainly part of the issue, but again things are complex, not simple. That is the way of the world.

  13. I feel like since Kareem stopped teaching and Rambis, who worked with him, are both gone Andrew has stopped learning. I hope I am wrong but I see some negative signs in the past 3-weeks. Just a month ago the media was talking all-star for him. Not so much now.

  14. They need to call plays for Andrew in the low post, where he goes into his offensive move immiediatley. The lakers should also feed the ball into the high post for both Andrew and Gasol to create a diffrent look and more space. Gasol also needs to use more of his face to the basket game. In the end what does worry me about Andrew is the appearance of his lack of passion for the game,defense comes from passion to win. Maybe it is time to take the kid gloves off.

  15. AnonymousLakersFan December 29, 2009 at 8:34 am

    do you think drew will be able to recover ?

  16. Bynum had nine points and seven boards (plus a block) in the first quarter last night. Was the problem Drew quit playing, or that the team went away from him? It seemed more the latter to me. The issue is more complex than just “Bynum being lazy” or something along those lines.

  17. From a truly reliable source, Drew was heart-broken over the holidays. But that’s not an excuse to play inconsistent.

  18. From watching Drew this season, it seems like he still doesn’t get it. The only time he seems to show a spark is when he gets the ball in the post. What he doesn’t get is that his scoring is completely unnecessarry. honestly, Joel Pryzbilla (Tyson Chandler would be perfect) would be a better fit for the Lakers than him. They don’t need anything out of that 5 spot except for guarding the paint and defensive boards. Between Kobe (30 ppg), Gasol (about 20 ppg), Artest (15 ppg) Fisher(8-10 ppg), and the bench (get it up to 25-30 ppg), he doesn’t need to avg more than 5 pts per contest. What sucks most about him is that he teases you and shows you some good stuff every once in a while, but it is a tease. He needs to not give a shit if they go away from him because, honestly, he’s like the 6th option on the team. That’s why he never plays in the 4th quarter and that’s why he was largely unneeded during the championship run. No one really should care if he scores 5 pts or 25 pts, but his rebounding numbers should rarely be below 10 per contest. In short, Bynum needs to know his place. Gasol is going to get the majority of the post touches because not only is he better offensively, he just makes much better decisions. Drew always feels he needs to chuck it up because he’s worried about when he’s going to get his next shot. If he doesn’t shape up, I see him being shipped out along with Farmar and Drew should be easy to trade.

  19. Also, when Gasol is a better on ball and off ball defender than you (And Pau’s defense has gotten better than the Lakers, but still) AND a better defensive rebounder even though he’s built like a spaghetti noodle, u got problems.

  20. The only thing I question is if he has TRULY healed from his surgeries. Maybe what is frustrating him is that he’s not moving like he used to.

    I think he runs up and down the court the way he does because of some residual injury. I could be wrong of course, but it’s not right to jump immediately to blaming the player. If that were the case, that he was just huffing it this season, don’t you think the coaching staff would take him out?