Andrew Bynum has been a trip over the past month or so, hasn't he?
From the three-pointer (you know which one) to the fine, to the blown-off meeting with Mitch Kupchak, Bynum's been making some noise. Despite the off-court drama, though, he's putting up the best numbers of his career and he's showing the Los Angeles Lakers just how much they need him.
The Lakers took down the San Antonio Spurs with a 98-84 victory without Kobe Bryant last night, and they did it because of Bynum. Hauling down a career-high (and NBA season-high) 30 rebounds, Bynum was everywhere. Consider this: Bynum pulled down 30 rebounds. The entire Spurs team had 33.
Of course, this wouldn't be a Bynum post without some foolishness. That's been his M.O. this season. At the end of the game, when the Lakers had the ball and Steve Blake was dribbling out the clock, Bynum decided to call for the ball at the three-point line.
When Blake made the wise decision not to give it to him, Bynum decided to have a little fun with his teammate by playing some pretend defense on him.
Here's the video:
Yep. I'm sure the Spurs were thrilled with that. Bynum doesn't care, though. And he doesn't have to care, either. As long as he continues to put up numbers, he's going to be able to continue to do what he wants because his team needs him.
The funniest part in all of this is watching how Bryant is entirely amused by Bynum's antics. A brazenly talented young player testing the people around him and overstepping his boundaries? Sounds a little familiar. If Bynum can become aware of his talent and truly recognize what he has the chance to help the Lakers accomplish, all of the little annoyances won't matter.
Bryant's injury has turned into a blessing disguised in nice suits on the bench, for both Bryant and his teammates. The team must come together. Bynum must get more comfortable in the spotlight and also learn how to work through offensive struggles without the benefit of having Bryant on the floor.
Bryant gets to sit and watch, really recognize what his teammates can do, recognize where his spots are (or should be) and also, of course, rest and heal his body.
It's funny how quickly a negative can turn into a positive. It's funny that Bynum's attitude might also be the beginning of him caring, really caring, about what happens on the floor.
After the game, Bynum was interviewed by Mike Trudell of Lakers.com. While he was asked about his career night on the boards, his focus was on his off-shooting night. He didn't mince words.
Check out his slip-up below, via Iamagm.com.
For better or worse, this is the Bynum you're getting. I think I love it.