Andrew Bynum’s Development & Taking The Next Step

Darius Soriano —  January 9, 2012

Since he’s returned from his 4 game suspension, Andrew Bynum’s play has been met with fierce, well deserved praise. He’s been a monster in the middle, controlling the glass, blocking shots and altering shots, and attacking the paint on offense in a manner the Lakers haven’t seen since Shaquille O’Neal manned the pivot. He’s running hard to the rim on both ends of the floor, punishing his man with his big body at every opportunity, and doing (seemingly) everything the coaches are asking of him on both sides of the ball.

Bynum’s work on the glass and defensive effectiveness aren’t that new, though. Last season the Lakers post all-star break tear had a lot to do with Bynum taking greater responsibility as a defender and rebounder. He showed an activity level and commitment to controlling the defensive paint that clearly impacted every game.

What is new, though, is his overall effectiveness on offense. Bynum has shown flashes of this level of play before. He’s always had a certain polish to his game and when that was combined with his sheer size and (still above average) athleticism, the makings of an offensive force were evident. But this season he’s putting it all together. He’s added a little lefty jump hook to his arsenal. He’s moving better off the ball to get in better position to make deep post catches. His moves are still a bit deliberate, but he’s using those straight forward attacks to work counters into his game that keep defenders guessing and off-balance. Bynum’s growth on offense is at the point that even Kobe recognizes that Bynum has become the Lakers 2nd option on offense:

“It seems like it’s changed a little bit,” Bryant said after the Lakers’ 97-90 win over the Golden State Warriors on Friday. “Andrew is thirsty to score and he can score. He has more of a scorer’s mentality [than Gasol], so we’ll take advantage of that.”

However, with that “hunger” comes more responsibility and with more responsibility, more growth is expected. This is where Bynum needs to take the next step. From Kevin Ding:

No doubt Bynum has plenty of moves, via both power and footwork, but what he lacks is the ability to handle double teams. He struggled when presented with that challenge late last season, and he will struggle again with it much of this season – probably more so than even Lakers coach Mike Brown suspects…The best players in the NBA command double teams almost all the time. Once Bynum tore up the Trail Blazers with 7-for-7 shooting in the first half, they went after him in the second half. He couldn’t handle it, shooting 2 of 9 from the field. Just as bad, he had no assists in 20 second-half minutes – indicative of his difficulty in finding open teammates while double-teamed.

This shouldn’t be a surprise. Big men are notoriously slow in learning how to deal with double teams at the NBA level. Defensive schemes are complex and weak side rotations are executed by some of the best athletes in the world. Double teams can come from a variety of areas of the court and big men need to learn how to recognize them and adjust. There are differences in how to respond to a guard digging down from up high vs. a wing sneaking in from the baseline vs. a second big man coming with added pressure. Then, of course, there’s also soft doubles and second defenders feinting pressure only to recover quickly to their own man in order to disrupt passing angles.

In a lot of ways big men (or post players in general) – with their backs to the basket and often double teamed from their blind side – are like NFL quarterbacks executing a play action pass where they must turn their back on the defense for a moment and then turn back around and make a full field read to find their WR breaking open. Big men must take a snapshot of the floor, recognize where every defender is, then make the appropriate read based off where the defenders move. Offensive players are then supposed to move to other designated areas based off what their own man does in order to give their big man a passing angle. Learning these skills and getting comfortable with where your teammates will be takes time, even for big men that have extraordinary feel for the game.

What needs to be noted here is that Bynum was showing growth in these areas in season’s past but has regressed some this season. But, when you take a step back, there’s an obvious reason for that: the Lakers are no longer running the Triangle. Because it was the only offense he’d ever played in, Bynum – like every other long tenured Laker – had a comfort level with the famed triple post offense. He knew where his teammates would be AND (just as important) his teammates knew where to go on any given possession when a player was double teamed. Right now, every Laker off the ball looks a bit hesitant on where he should move when a double comes. This, in turn, makes the player actually getting doubled more hesitant on where the ball should go.

The Portland game that Ding mentioned is a perfect example of this. On one play in particular, Bynum caught the ball on the shallow right block and then faced the basket. The double team came and he held the ball high with two hands looking for an outlet. The two Lakers on the weak side stood for a moment and then both cut to the rim hoping to receive a pass from Drew. Drew made the right read but by the time the ball got there, the defense had recovered and the ball got deflected out of bounds.

A possession like the one above is commonplace for the Lakers right now and Bynum’s not the only one being affected. Kobe – the other Laker that frequently gets double teamed – is also struggling more than in past seasons in dealing with the second defender. He’s looking for his standard pressure release and that man isn’t there. He’s making passes to spots on the floor and the ball is going out of bounds or into the hands of a defender. Kobe’s not as indecisive as Bynum, but after dealing with double teams for the better part of a decade that’s only natural.

Ultimately, Bynum has a ways to go as a passer. Some players have a natural passing instinct and lead players open into space rather than waiting for them to break open before a pass is made. Bynum is the latter type but that doesn’t mean he can’t learn to be better at the former. Players like Shaq and Duncan began their careers much the way Bynum has but grew into the type of double team busters that can carry an offense. It will take time, of course, but all steps of growth do. Until then, though, I’m happy seeing him get deep post position and produce easy baskets. I’m happy watching him power through his own man to draw fouls and compromise the integrity of the opposotion’s D.

Though, I must admit, I’ll be happier when he’s hitting the right man out of the double and reading the game more than he’s reacting to it. Because when he’s doing that, you’ll know that his evolution as an offensive force is essentially complete.

Darius Soriano

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52 responses to Andrew Bynum’s Development & Taking The Next Step

  1. Unrelated- but only 1 more week to go before the Lakers get their first 2 day rest of the season!

  2. Good points, Darius. Drew’s stats on offense have been elevated because he wasn’t get doubled as much. Now that he’s getting doubled more often, his offensive production is way down. It’s too bad the team junked the triangle. Their personnel are built for that offense (especially at the starting PG position), and it’s going to be a season-long struggle without it.

  3. Good analysis – I felt like Kobe was throwing passes out of bounds expecting guys to be in their spots, and see you noticed it too.

    We reflect on the triangle a lot here, and its interesting to see how some players (Blake, Barnes) seem much more comfortable in this offense.

  4. Bear in mind, both M.Gasol and Kwame are strong, burly defenders. Couple that with double teams, it goes to show that the rest of the league believes Bynum is a threat and not just us at FB&G. It’s a good and necessary development.

    I was super glad to see Troy Murphy be aggressive with his shots. Once Bynum learns to pass out of the double team for either a re-post or open shot, he’ll be deadlier. For the record, he was much better yesterday about the re-posting and Kobe did go back to him when the big fella worked inside.

    Anyone have any ideas about what OKC is going to do now that Maynor is out for the season? That is Lakers-related because it will further dry out the already dry “available PGs” pool

  5. Bynum has shown he has a quick learning curve. I’m sure he soon will be able to deal with double teams. What is interesting is Bynum is getting doubled more than Dwight Howard already against solid defenders. When Dwight goes against true centers like Kwame and Marc Gasol he doesn’t get doubled very often. That’s probably because Dwight is smaller than legitimate Centers. Either way it’s interesting to see defenses pay more attention to Bynum than to Kobe. What has not been discussed is Kobe’s and Pau’s increased efficiency since Bynum has been receiving the lions share of the defenses attention. They both are getting one on one coverage and sometimes (more in Gasols case) are being left wide open. How the times are changing.

  6. Agree with previous posts on Bynum and doubles. Taped the Memphis game and noticed he was missing some short chips he normally buries. His conditioning is still only about 80% and the big 3 would benefit with fewer minutes, which is why we need Mc Bob back and still want to see Ebanks and Morris get some minutes. Suddenly all the trade talk has gone from Howard to PG`s,which means Bynum is doing a better job.

  7. Excellent & timely article. I just poised the question about Bynum’s poor fg % the last two games (actually 2 1/2 games) in your Laker-Grizz wrap-up earlier today. Obviously with the schedule the way it is, practice time is at a premium. This truly gives me hope my Lakers will be in the Western Conf finals. Then let’s see where we go from there.

    P.S: Aaron Brooks s/b available when his Chinese contract expires in late Feb/early March. Any opinion on the Lakers going after him?

  8. #5. I don’t think we’re watching the same games. Bynum’s benefitting most from the attention that Kobe gets and from the spacing that Pau provides as an excellent offensive option that can stretch his game to 18-20 feet. Once Pau and/or Kobe go to the bench and Bynum is asked to anchor the 2nd unit – a unit w/o a viable offensive threat outside of him – he’s struggling with the increased defensive attention that’s coming at him.

    I know we all mostly hold Bynum in a high regard. But it’d be nice if we didn’t start making stuff up to make him seem better than he is. He’s doing just fine making a name for himself as a very good player w/o any of us propping him up.

  9. Excellent as always. The team as a whole is still adjusting to not playing in the Triangle. Guys like Blake and Barnes who never really picked it up are doing fine without it. But players like Kobe, Pau and Drew are still trying to figure out the new system.

    It has often been said the Center postion has the highest learning curve. There is a reason why the best centers have usually hit their peaks closer to age 30. Hakeem was about 30 when we saw him at his best. Shaq didn’t hit his peak until about the same age. Andrew is 24 and still has a lot to learn. Providing he can stay on the floor, he should continue to make good progress.

    OT: If anyone wants a good laugh here is link to a piece were Kwame Brown takes credit for Andrew’s growth as a player. No, seriously. Check it out.

  10. Re: Aaron Brooks. Phx has his rights as a restricted free agent, and would match what we can offer (minimum). Ergo, Brooks wouldn’t even pick up the phone. They could theoretically take the TPE, but there are far better trades out there and Nash is an expiring, so they’ll probably keep Brooks.

    I’d like to see our bigs get the other team into foul trouble early on. I think in the 1st quarter, Memphis was over the foul limit at like the 7 minute mark. That’s why Shaq was so helpful. He put our players on the line.

  11. 4/DY: the thunder drafted a pg(reggie jackson) and my guess is they will go with him.

    7/Sid: unless phoenix doesn’t make a qualifying offer, aaron brooks is a restricted free agent.

  12. When Bynum was drafted, Kurt Helin got to see some Summer League games in Vegas (pretty sure it was Vegas). When he reported what he saw, I asked him about Bynum’s post game. Kurt said that his footwork wasn’t good at all and he even saw Bynum taking a hook shot using the wrong foot to elevate himself.

    What we are seeing now is a young player developing a footwork (thanks Cap!) that most players his size (in the NBA) don’t have. There’s a reason why Dwight struggles when he plays against Marc Gasol or Kwame or Kendrick Perkins and there’s a reason while Bynum still commands a double team. Bynum is longer than Dwight and has a better footwork. However, what I would like to see from Bynum is still not there…

    I would like him to have a better feel of his opponent the moment he catches the ball. Feeling the opponent immediatly will make your reaction quicker, thus avoiding a double team or finding an open teammate before the help rotation is set. Remember the Shaq’s spin to the baseline? Bynum still doesn’t have it. He has some hooks (left and right now), some spins to the inside and not much more. Once he starts using the spin to the baseline, the up and under to the middle and the jump hook, he will be almost unstoppable. However, he cannot spend 3 seconds of the offense deciding on what he’s going to do, as someone above wisely stated. Learning a new offense takes time but players with high basketball IQ, when operating from the post, easily find open teammates if they find themselves double teamed.

    Point being, Bynum’s probably overthinking on what he’s going to do instead of immediatly reacting to the defense. Maybe it’s because he still hasn’t found his own go-to move and the subsequent counters if the defense stops his first option. Maybe it’s because he’s waiting for cutters that are not there. Or maybe he’s just slow in feeling his opponent out. Anyway, I hope he works on that and then we might see him flourish into a true superstar…

  13. @8. Darius – When Aaron outlandishly elevates my favorite Laker by devaluing Kobe, Pau, and Dwight to an extent that falls outside of reality, I just smile happily 😀

  14. please stop with the Aaron brooks talk. you cannot get a young average to above average PG for the minimun salary. the only way the Lakers can improve their PG situation is via trade (think pau or bynum or a remote possibllity of Barnes + picks if Barnes continues his stellar play). Mo Williams and Ramon sessions are both currently getting regular mins with their respective teams so getting either of them is unlikely unless bledsoe comes back from injury and starts to take William’s minutes.

    I would love as much as anyone for the Lakers to upgrade their PG situation (especially after watching last night’s turnover party) but it will take the Lakers giving up pau or bynum because they are really their only trade assets.

  15. Darius,
    Just look at the shooting percentages. But even before Bynum gets the ball Gasol’s man sinks into the paint leaving Gasol open for easy ten footers. Kobe meanwhile hasn’t received any attention from help defenders since Bynum returned.

  16. #15. Aaron,
    You just proved to me that you’re not watching the games.

  17. The Dude,
    Nobody is putting down Kobe or Dwight. I’ve said for the last three years Dwight is the second best player behind LeBron in the league. I’m just stating what I see when reviewing games. Kobe hasn’t commanded frequent double teams in a couple years. Dwight Howard has never demanded double teams against solid positional defenders like Kendrick Perkins. I think people should start watching more NBA basketball besides just Lakers games 🙂

  18. I was just at the Memphis game sitting 9 rows up above Jack. And then watched the game again on TV when jogging on the treadmill. But I’m glad I can prove something to you.

  19. Btw… Not that Kobe is always right or even honest… But when mentioning Bynum now being the Lakers third option he said Gasol was getting easy wide open jump shots with Bynum being a focal point of the offense. And that Gasol “has an easier time just filling in the holes.”

  20. Aaron,
    Actually, what Kobe said was that Bynum has a hunger to score and that, like himself (Kobe), the team is trying to take advantage of that hunger with the result being Bynum becoming the 2nd option on offense. Furthermore, he also said that Pau is more content letting the game come to him and the result was Pau “filling in the gaps”.

    Nowhere did he say anything about Pau getting “easy wide open jumpshots” or imply that was the result of the attention Bynum’s drawing on O. The furthest Kobe went was when he said that “Pau’s not a scorer by nature” and that Bynum’s development “takes pressure off of Pau”. Those statements are both true (though I think Pau’s more of a scorer than Kobe’s giving him credit for) as Bynum’s ability to get 15-20 points a night means that Pau doesn’t need to hunt shots or force the issue on offense to try and get buckets.

  21. The value of Socks just went up in the last four games, therefore he is on par to Orlando’s interest. If nothing comes out from the deal, at least Lakers have a developing Center. By my own estimate, it would take three more years before Bynum becomes a real monster in the post compared to Dwight in offense, defense, rebounds and as the leader of the team. Right now, he’s the big behemoth forcing shots utilizing his height advantage. A dirty player could easily hurt Bynum by going under him, however if he could develop other repertoire like hook shots, mid jump shots and higher percentage in FT’s, then he can have the coronation of parity against Dwight. If he’s still with the team, Lakers could preserve a refinined diamond due to age disparity as well, unfortunately he’s not yet there but “maybe” on the way there if he continues to be healthy.

  22. Darius,
    I’m sorry we disagree on this. Gasol is getting wide open midrange looks because of the attention Bynum is now getting. All you have to do is look at the Lakers second possession of the game. Kobe had the ball on the near side and was looking to get the ball to Bynum. Before Kobe could throw it down low… Gasol’s man doubled Andrew off the ball leaving Gasol wide open at the free throw line. Kobe passed the ball to a wide open Pau. On this play Gasol actually turned down the shot thinking his man was going to come back to him allowing him to make the entry pass to Bynum. Unfortunatley Pau’s man stayed glued to Drew and Gasol then faked the shot and eventually passed the ball to the other side of the floor.

  23. I like Bynum to improve not just a 2nd option or just the best Center in West. Bynum should focus on quantum leap from where he is now to where he will be in a year’s time. I have reiterated this before in my previous posts in another blog, Dave M and Magic Phil may have read this before.

    Bynum should religiously watch and study more tapes from the legends Centers of the game starting from: Bill Russell, Wilt Chamberlain, Moses Malone, Elvin Hayes, Da Dream Olajuwon. Borrow some moves from the masters and practice them until he knows it by heart. Perhaps, he could also improve the moves based on today’s mojo. With Russell, he should watch his timing in blocking shots and getting rebounds, with M. Malone how he positions himself in the post for easy follow ups and rebounds; for Big E, his pivot moves and domination the game; for Wilt C his offense and durability as a player, for Da Dream for being a Champ. not afraid of Shaq. Of course, I did not include here his mentor, Kareem who is the highest pointer on record, a soft assassin with those hook shots and simplicity plus longevity in playing baskteball. If Bynum does his homework, he will surpass Dwight and would become also a legend of his own right. My impression for the last 6 years is that he’s a lazy fella to learn more, just contented with off and on praises as a 3rd option or 2nd option but never the first option.

  24. #22. Cherry picking a few possessions isn’t enough. I think it’s best that we continue to look big picture…I think that will lead to us agreeing that the bigs help eachother as Gasol’s shown an ability to stretch his game to the perimeter which gives Drew space to operate down low. Just as Bynum’s effectiveness on the block has given Pau more space to hit his mid-range jumper.

  25. Darius,
    No question great players make the game easier for each other. But right now I’m seeing Bynum helping Gasol more than Gasol is helping Drew. But I’m someone who weirdly thought Kobe helped Shaq more than Shaq helped Kobe. When Shaq was doubled the defense hardly left Kobe open where as Kobe often drove to the lane so easily and quickly Shaq’s man in the paint was the only player available to help. So Shaq woud up with a lot of open dunks from Kobe hand offs.

    Don’t get me wrong. Until this point Gasol’s offensive game (especially his passing) gave Bynum easy points more than the other way around. I’m just pointing out that the times they are a changing.

  26. the Lakers are frequently running sets to get Bynum the ball deep in the paint, because that is an easy deuce against any 1:1 defender in the league.

    But I would hesitate to say he’s a focal point of the offense right now, because his ability to “create” a shot is limited as compared to Kobe and Gasol. He is our best (or 2nd best) option to have finishing a play, but we still go to Kobe and Gasol to create.

    When Drew masters passing out of the double, watch out. Part of the reason the 3 point shooting has been so miserable this year is because, although he does get rid of the ball, he’s a hair late on getting it out. Unfortunately, the post/re-post game is a 2 man job, and our best perimeter player spends the majority of his time in the paint. I’d like to see Kobe teaming up with Bynum more often to build some 2-man game, similar to what LO and Gasol once had.

  27. So is the next step…. a trade?

  28. @23 – Edwin, I agree with you. Bynum should take a look at some old school Kareem and Hakin.

    But after 5 years of NBA, he should have figured this out a while ago. I’m impressed by his bball so far but there’s still some things to improve.

    Let’s see. as much as I’m enjoying his performance, I have a feeling the DH trade it’s on the works on the backstage. I’m good with either one (leaning towards DH, lol).


  29. I agree with the post in that Bynum needs to become more adept at passing out of double-teams. But in his defense, the team itself is still struggling to figure out where to move the ball, as evidenced by the high turnover rate we’re still seeing. Hopefully they’ll all have a better feel for the flow of the offense as we get closer to warm weather.

    Kobe aside, guys who are playing best in Brown’s offense are the ones who have spent the bulk of their careers elsewhere and aren’t being pushed now to unlearn what they had learned under Phil. Barnes and Blake look totally comfortable, as did McRoberts before he went down.

    It’s a new system; it takes time.

  30. Couple of correcting points. Kareem tried to be Drew’s mentor but by year 2 drew dismissed his help which angered many on the team.

    Drew is no longer a young player. 6 year’s in the league playing or sitting can no longer be considered young when the average tenure for a top center is 12 to 13 years. He is 50% vested in his NBA career.

    Hopefully he is just out if shape and has not peaked the last two games.

  31. Ken,
    I doubt Drew is 50% of the way through his career. He came in as the youngest player ever to play and has not played a ton of minutes since.

  32. @Ken, that’s not entirely true. Drew and Kareem worked together for four seasons, then cut down on the one-on-one stuff for the fifth season (2009-10), which got cut further because Kareem got leukemia.

  33. @Aaron on comment 25

    Wow man you’re missing the point. Realistically, Pau has become this Laker team’s Lamar Odom. He is deferring to Drew and letting Drew do the dirty work down low while he stands at the Pinch Post and runs the offense from up top. If Drew is doubled by Pau’s man, Pau takes the jump shot. If Drew successfully seals his man, Drew takes the shot. They benefit eachother.

    I consider them the sum of the whole instead of two separate parts. This is why I personally don’t want D12. Drew and Pau work well together because one’s weakness is the other’s strength. I can’t see D12 being as effective with Pau. Plus D12 is a terrible passer. The last thing we need is more turnovers.

  34. To add to that, Kareem frequently cites Andrew as one of his ‘success stories’ from a coaching perspective (as compared to a guy like Michael Olowakandi, who KAJ also tried to coach up but never listened).

  35. As soon as we hit the 15-gm mark there’s more data to conclude whether a trade is necessary…

    ATM, we have to recognize that our biggest need is a guy who can penetrate and create opportunities off the dribble but someone who also isn’t ball-dominant since he’ll be doing that only when Kobe rests. A guy like Mo Williams is a very tickly thought but he is being utilized in LAC and they are trying to win… so there’s little reason to believe they will do something that would boost up their cross-locker rival.

    I have scouted the league for such types of players, ones that are reachable via TPE + 1st rounder type of deals and have come up with 2 names: Beno Udrih and the other guy I hate to bring up due to contract purposes – Chris Duhon.

    (edited for trade speculation)

  36. ^ As a GM, you need to recognize that a trade doesn’t have to spell CP3 or Dwight Howard to make an impact. Sometimes, its the most-impact by giving up the least possible cost.

    Oh and MWP is another guy that would benefit alot from a change in scenery. He’d be a good fit in San Antonio but I don’t want to amnesty him and have him sign there for the minimum.

  37. I would imagine a sinking veteran team would be willing to cut costs by taking dumping a solid player and his salary on the Lakers later in the season.

  38. Oh, and then there is Mardy Collins playing for the D-Fenders. I wonder if he will get a couple of 10-day contracts for the Lakers, to probe if he can add something on the PG spot:

  39. I agree with you wholeheartedly about Beno Udrih. He is a low turnover, great finisher, kind of guy with a decent outside shot (only 29 too). He is currently the back-up to Brandon Jennings (but he, Udrih, is DTD right now) and he usually plays double the minutes of Shawn Livingston (the other PG). He and Goran Dragic are the two point guards I see that will help us continue what we are doing, provide a necessary skill, and are within the TPE.

  40. TPE: Let’s not forget that the TPE “could” be traded straight up, but more than likely will need to be used. So when referring to possible trades, it is not just the TPE, but also who/what are we going to part with to get someone like a Dragic. They are not going to pull an LO dump and give him to us just for the TPE : )

  41. This needs mentioning again: we don’t do trade speculation at this site. Unless it’s being reported by reliable sources that the Lakers are engaged in talks and we have a good idea of the deal on the table, we’re not going to engage in random speculation about who can be had for what price. There are plenty of other sites where you can engage in those talks and I’d recommend visiting them for those discussions.

  42. It’s hard to be too judgemental of Drew do to the fact that he obviously isn’t in ‘Basketball Game Shape’ as of yet. By stating that he tired during the Blazers game pretty much proves this. With that being said, 1 thing that I have recognized is that stronger Centers (Kwame & M. Gasol) have nuetralized him by pushing him off/out of his sweet spots. Like I mentioned, this could be because his stamina isn’t up yet, but this is all the more reason to adapt a ‘Short Jumper’. Its something that he dappled with a couple years back, but eventually went away from. With his length, touch & if released from its apex, it would be another weapon to add to his arsenal.

  43. The schedule’s looking pretty favorable the next 5 games or so. I would really love to see the Lakers get a couple of blowout wins in there – not just for the results, but in hopes that Darius Morris might see some garbage time minutes.

    I can’t quite believe he has yet to see a minute of action since the first preseason game (when he played pretty well). It’s hard to believe he couldn’t live up to the standard of play Fish has exhibited the last couple of games. At some point, doesn’t this guy need to get a taste?

  44. One of the beneficial side effects of strong centers having to work hard to limit Bynum’s impact is it really frees up Pau. Most teams do not have two tall physically strong starters that can punish and bother Lakers frontline. Pau in the GS and Mem game was extremely efficient and effective.

    Also those centers are not as effective. Marc Gasol had a horrendous shooting night. Got to think a lot of that was his energy and focus being diverted to having to deal with Bynum.

  45. Good call, Jodial. I always enjoy reading posts that correct grammar.

    And I have to agree, talking about trades on this site is a no-no, guys. I have no idea why, but appearantly it is a no-no. A comment section mentioning trades? You guys know better! Lol

  46. #45. Drew,
    Read this for an explanation:

    If anyone else has questions, you’re free to do the same.

  47. Think we can get Jrue Holliday for that trade exception? Just kidding. Would be nice, wouldn’t it?

  48. Tra: Why isn’t Bynum in game shape? He had the same pre-season and camp as all others. He now has 6 reg season games.

    We need to quit grading this guy on a curve. He has never been a 40 minute guy both due to stamina and injuries. We need him to be the #2 center overall, so this needs to change. He also needs to run the floor better, play better help defense, and not disappear for long periods during games. Sorry Drew, but if you want to “take the next step” that is the criteria.

  49. I’m with Robert.

    During the lockout, we all heard how Drew was in great shape and had been working out boxing with Freddy roach and a bunch of other stuff. I’m a Drew critic, so take this with a grain of salt, but I never thought his workout “routine” would be of any use in terms of stamina and conditioning for games. Why? Well, lifting weights and boxing may increase strenght, but by themselves they do nothing to improve cardio performance. I think people sometimes fall into the myth that all boxers have great stamina due to boxing, when the reality is that they acquire such stamina by running like the devil and doing HIIT workouts – not just by sparing. Sparing by itself may be great exercise for sports that require short bursts of energy followed by long resting periods (think NFL, sprinting), but in a non-stop game like the NBA, Drew would have been better served by running in an elliptical at high resistance, running in water that is waist deep or getting on a bike and taking some steep hills (I’m being realistic that he needs to keep his knees healthy).

    I just hope that his lack of stamina does not create a situation where he gets injured. Again, I’m more of a critic than a fan of Drew so perhaps my opinion is a little off.

  50. #50. I feel like whatever workout measures Bynum took in the off-season have helped more than harmed. He’s more explosive around the rim and his short area quickness is improved.

    As for being in game shape, I hate to sound sarcastic, but for big men like Bynum (who have a lot of mass) you get in game shape by playing and he’s done less of that than any other Laker both this season and this off-season. I say we cut him some slack as his conditioning isn’t awful, it’s just not where he wants it yet.

    If this is our huge concern with Bynum, I think we’re doing okay.

  51. Re: #12

    When Bynum was drafted, the Pro Summer League was still in Long Beach.

    I distinctly remember this because I made travel plans centered around seeing Bynum at the PSL.