Andrew Bynum continued his year of rage after being ejected from Friday night’s game, and while that same rage has allowed him to be the most dominant center in the Western Conference, his latest acts of immaturity continue to leave Laker fans scratching their heads.
Last year in the playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks, J.J. Barea was destroying the Lakers off the bench. I screamed for someone to stop him, I yelled at the TV for someone to stand in the lane, just begging for someone to pressure him, but I never once thought “someone should make sure this guy leaves the arena tonight on a stretcher.”
Bynum, out of sheer frustration, reminded the small guard that he was a two-time defending champion, and the Lakers suffered for five games because of it.
Just imagine how different Christmas Day against the Chicago Bulls would have gone had Bynum been available?
Bynum’s shenanigans off the court have frustrated Laker fans in the past and have cast much doubt in his ability to lead the Lakers into the promise land once Kobe Bryant relinquishes the reigns as leader. While the ejections, technical fouls and the extremely high speeding tickets are definitely creating news, the fact that Bynum has been able to play at an elite level shouldn’t be forgotten.
I believe that the only reason Andrew Bynum isn’t considered the best center in the NBA right now is because his proverbial "resume" is only one page long. That’s right, Dwight Howard is only better now because Bynum has not been able to stay healthy, but in the coming years should Bynum continue to stay healthy, his argument of whether or not he is the best center in the game wont be an argument at all, but rather a fact.
I don’t agree with a lot of opinions about how to punish Bynum.Yes, the Laker center should be more mature, and yes he needs to find a balance, but he doesn’t need to be retooled, reshaped or refined.
The big man is shredding in the paint. He makes a nightly pass out of a double team seem like a dime from Steve Nash, and the chemistry he and Pau Gasol share is uncanny. The ability and footwork both these seven-footer's have is enviable.
Bynum doesn’t need to be suspended and fining him 5-to-10 figures isn’t going to open his eyes to some revelation that is unbeknownst to him.
In a nutshell, he is the future, he is enraged, he is a killer, but isn't he just doing what NBA fans want Lebron to do?
All Bynum is doing is accepting the villain role and not acting phony about it. Imagine how much different James would be viewed if his statement after he left for Miami was as blunt as Bynum's was after the ejection, "I don't have any regrets. Stuff happens."
When James went to Miami, he lost his crown and became the heir apparent to one Dwyane Wade. Instead of embracing the easily-accepted villain role, he floundered, and to this day he finds himself looking for fans via Twitter.
The media and writers all need to take a step back. If Bryant were worried about people liking him, he wouldn’t have won two more rings without Shaquille O’Neal.
Yes it’s obvious his antics have begun to take away from his best season ever, but the woes that have ensued should really be looked at twice. It seems like just yesterday Bryant and Laker fans alike were begging the front office to rid them of a lazy and effortless Kwame Brown.
Having a talentless center that has no work ethic is a Laker woe. Having a center that dominates the block, has the ability to make free throws and shows so much promise in developing a mid-range shot is a luxury.
The fact that this same center is an angry force to be reckoned with on the court isn’t a Laker problem, its every other team's problem.
The NBA doesn’t need anymore “big fellas” crowding the paint, and Bynum understands this. The NBA needs a villain, and one who is willing to own the title.
So instead of coming up with outrageous ideas on how to send the center a message, Laker fans should spend more time coming up with a nickname (I like Evil Andrew, but the kid gamer in me is begging for Andrew “Wario” Bynum).
Yes, Bynum should know better by now, but Laker fans need to settle down and heed the words of their general manager Mitch Kupchak, "He's the starting center on the West All-Star team. Why wouldn't we do everything we could to keep him here?"