Andrew Bynum was experiencing the best five game stretch of his career before he went down with a knee injury on January 31.
Every Lakers fan was devastated when they heard the news that Bynum would be out a minimum of eight weeks, and possibly out for the season. Granted the loss of Bynum has a significant meaning, not only to the Lakers, but the rest of the NBA.
Without Bynum patrolling the paint, the Lakers may appear weak and soft. And that's why I see this injury to have good hidden within it for the Lakers.
After last years' NBA Finals when the Lakers were slapped around on the inside, Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol were viewed as soft and unable to handle a tough interior presence.
The biggest disappointment may have been Lamar Odom. He looked as though he was disinterested in a few of the games and could care less if he played defense or not.
This year hasn't been much different for Odom. The confidence that Lakers and Odom himself need, wasn't there. Odom didn't take well to coming off the bench this season, but accepted it.
The bench didn't do much for Odom's confidence.
With Bynum's injury, Odom will be inserted back into the starting lineup. In the three games since Bynum went down, Odom has averaged 13 points per game, 8.7 rebounds per game., and 1.7 blocks per game. All of those numbers are improved compared to his season stats of 9.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg, and 1.1 bpg.
The confindence and aggresiveness that Odom has showed since he was named a starter again, is hard to ignore. With Bynum out, the Lakers desperately need Odom to step up and play with swagger.
It looks like Odom is up to the challenge.
If Bynum does return in time for the playoffs, the Lakers will be a deadly team. If they can bring in a refreshed, confident Odom off the bench, the Lakers may be unstoppable.