Los Angeles Lakers: If Andrew Bynum Plays Tough, No One Can Stop Them

Richard LeivenbergContributor IIIFebruary 17, 2012

Why isn't Andrew Bynum Tougher?
Why isn't Andrew Bynum Tougher?Harry How/Getty Images

There has been a lot of talk about the Los Angeles Lakers trading Andrew Bynum for someone like Dwight Howard.  He has also been shuttled off to New Jersey, Houston, the Knicks and who knows how many other teams, at least theoretically.

Today, a Los Angeles sports talk station had Bynum going for Deron Williams.  This is like Superman's Bizarro World where everything is turned upside down.

Why in the world would the biggest man in basketball be traded for a point guard?  Why isn't Bynum more valuable to the Lakers? 

Sure, he has had his share of 20-20 games and plays alongside ball-hog supreme, Kobe Bryant.  But, he should have his 40-point days too.  He should inflict pain on the opposition and strike fear in their feeble hearts.

Bynum's immediate future and that of the Lakers rests in the Big Man's hands, which seemingly have been soft and cuddly rather than firm and powerful.

In an NBA world where the dunk is heralded, where 6' 3" guards fly high to the hoop and wild, monstrous dunks by Griffin and LeBron are replayed every hour on the sports channels, you rarely, if ever, see a Bynum dunk. 

You rarely, if ever, see Bynum powering to the basket, shrugging off players and pounding the ball down with the full force of his massive body.

Physically,  at 7', 285 lbs. Bynum dwarfs 99.9 percent of the league.  The NBA has no real centers any more, except for Howard and Bynum.  Don't say Marc Gasol on Memphis or Tyson Chandler of the Knicks or Kendrick Perkins of the Thunder.  Most centers today are what power forwards were years ago. 

None of these guys should be able to match up with Bynum's girth and height.  Yet he never shows that power in a game.  If he did, it would be game over

The closest he has come to a physical act was against a guy half his size last year in the Western Conference Finals when he pounded little J.J. Barea.

Is he a big-time center, or what?

Think of Shaq and how he would create space and literally fling off defenders as he went to the hoop.  Defenders had to get of his way or pay the price.  Why doesn't Bynum elicit that fear?

Even long and lean guys like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would swing under the hoop, rise up and smash down a reverse dunk that would take a guy's hand off it if got in the way.

Bynum's approach to the game is weak and deferential.  Why isn't he more pissed off, more determined and more insatiable about getting the ball and slamming it through the hoop?

Bynum could make a clear and powerful statement as profound as a Kobe Bryant jump shot, LeBron drive to the hoop or a Griffin alley-oop with a phi-slamma-jamma dunk.  It could be and should be his signature move.

Instead, in a league dominated by nifty little point guards, he defers to a dainty left or right-handed little hook and seems even a bit lost in the middle at times.

So, there he sits alongside Pao Gasol, one of the best offensive forwards in the league, a behemoth with a gargantuan size differential that should should literally put him way above his competition.

And, the Lakers?  Well, they are shopping him when they should be building around him.

They have a true advantage with him and Gasol.  No other team has such a tandem.

So many people criticize the Lakers and worry about their ability to make it to the NBA Finals. Yet, if you look at the size advantage they have, it doesn't make any sense.

Sure, their bench sucks, and they have no point guard. But, they have the biggest man in the league who truly could power them to the championship.

Then again, maybe they realize he is not the strong man they had hoped he would be.