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Is one 6'10" big man equal to two seven-footers?
It seems most Lakers fans are convinced that one way or another, the Lakers need to trade for Dwight Howard. After all, he is the three-time reigning Defensive Player of the Year.
It’s also no secret that Orlando’s GM Otis Smith wants to acquire both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol, while also dumping the contract associated with Hedo Turkoglu.
If you think this would be a good trade, let me assure you that this wouldn’t be in the best interest of the Lakers organization. If the Lakers want a decent all-around small forward (who can also play dominating defense), the team can use the trade exception from Lamar Odom and acquire Andre Iguodala.
While Howard would look great in a Lakers uniform, he is two years older than Bynum and has a less polished offensive repertoire compared to the Lakers center. As many Lakers fans can recall (ahem, 2009 NBA Finals), Howard also has a Shaq-like weakness at the free-throw line.
Bynum can convert on about 70 percent of his free throws—a much more respectable figure. With the increased role that Brown intends to give him, one should expect Bynum to post about 18 to 20 points, 10 to 12 rebounds and two or three blocks per game. With a higher free-throw percentage, the difference between Howard and Bynum may not be as big as some would think.
The risk with Bynum, of course, is his health. However, giving up Bynum for Howard also means losing a few inches and about 20 to 30 pounds at the center position. This size advantage is one reason why Bynum usually does quite well in his matchups against Howard.
Meanwhile, Pau Gasol may be the best center/power forward combo in the league. He is one of the best-passing big men around and plays solid defense, while always finding a way to avoid foul trouble and stay on the court (unlike Howard).
To give up both of these big men from the Lakers would require the Lakers to get Howard as well as an upgrade at the team’s weakest position, the point guard spot.