Los Angeles Lakers: Predicting the Future of NBA All-Star Andrew Bynum

Adam Friedgood@AfriedgoodContributor IIIFebruary 23, 2012

Los Angeles Lakers: Predicting the Future of NBA All-Star Andrew Bynum

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    Andrew Bynum, the 24-year-old center out of New Jersey, has had a very up-and-down career since the Lakers selected him with the 10th overall pick, straight out of high school, in the 2005 draft.

    With this selection, Bynum became the youngest player ever drafted by an NBA team.

    While it was known that his offensive skills were still raw, Bynum’s defense and rebounding were already at a very high level. The Lakers have used many specialty big-men coaches, most notably Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, to try and help turn Bynum’s immense potential into production on the offensive end.

    So far this season, Bynum’s hard work has paid off, as he is averaging 16.3 ppg and 12.8 rpg. The rest of the league has definitely taken notice of Bynum’s improvements, as he was selected to start in his first All-Star Game.

    Here is what I believe is in store for the future of NBA All-Star Andrew Bynum.

Bynum Will Never Start 80-Plus Games in a Season

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    The biggest thing holding Bynum back so far in his career has been his injury woes. In his seven-year career, he has only played in all 82 games one time and even missed the first four games of this year’s shortened season.

    His injuries have been very unfortunate. During the 2007-08 season, Bynum suffered an injury to his left knee. In 2009, he suffered an injury to his right knee.

    Bad knees and big men are a terrible combination. Whoever his coach is, is going to need to handle Bynum carefully and limit his minutes if they want him to hold up for a full season, let alone an entire career. 

Bynum Will Be Selected to the Next 5 All-Star Games

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    Almost all of the best centers in the NBA are in the Eastern Conference teams.

    As far as pure centers are concerned, Bynum’s only real competition for the starting spot on the West All-Star team is Marc Gasol and Al Jefferson. They are both having phenomenal seasons this year—Gasol is averaging 15 ppg and 9.9 rpg and Jefferson is averaging 19.1 ppg and 9.3 rpg.

    Bynum is a much better rebounder than the other two and puts up almost as many points as them, even though his offensive skills still have much room for improvement.

    Even if Bynum’s numbers are slightly below the other two big men one season, he should still be able to earn the All-Star appearance purely based on playing in Los Angeles, while the other two play for small-market teams. 

Bynum Eventually Wins the Rebounding Title

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    Currently, Bynum is third in the NBA with 12.8 rpg.

    I know Howard’s 15.3 rpg is much better than that, but I honestly think Bynum’s total might be more impressive considering the other great rebounders on the team.

    Right now, the Lakers have two players in the top six and three players who are in the top 50 in rebounding in the NBA. Andrew Bynum is third with his 12.8 rpg, Pau Gasol is sixth with 10.7 rpg and Kobe Bryant is 50th with 5.8 rpg.

    When Bynum is finally on a team where he is the only dominant big man, he will be grabbing much closer to Dwight Howard’s rebounding totals and will eventually surpass him in at least one season. 

Kobe and Bynum Make Another Title Run

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    I know many fans and analysts are saying this Lakers team’s run is over and they won’t be a factor in the playoffs, but I don’t believe that.

    Even if Kobe Bryant has lost a step, he is still better than 99 percent of the league. His leaping ability may not be what it once was, but Kobe is still unstoppable on offense and leads the league in scoring at 33 years old with 29 ppg. 

    Also, how many times have you seen Kobe transform into “The Black Mamba” during the playoffs and just will his team to victory by himself?

    Andrew Bynum’s dominant play this year will definitely take some of the pressure of Kobe during their attempt to get back to the championship. Either way, you know his play will be at a MVP level.

    I wouldn’t count this Lakers team out just yet. 

Bynum Wins NBA Finals MVP

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    Whether it is with the Lakers or not, Andrew Bynum will make the championship again in his career, since he is such a dominant force in the paint.   

    He is already putting up great numbers at such a young age, but I feel they all still have room for drastic improvement.

    Andrew Bynum still doesn’t real have any great low-post moves. Once he develops a signature move, like Olajuwon’s Dream Shake or Shaq’s spin move, he will be consistently scoring over 20 points per game.

    As I stated before, I also feel his rebounding totals will eventually increase. He is part of the only frontcourt in the NBA with two players who rebound in double figures, so you can expect him to be an even bigger force on the boards once he has to play by himself.

    Andrew Bynum is an excellent player and if he puts in maximum effort combined with the right coaching, he can definitely turn into an MVP-caliber player and maybe even a Hall of Famer.