Why Andrew Bynum, Not Dwight Howard Would Be Best Fit with Rockets

Matt Shetler@@buccos12Correspondent IJuly 12, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 01:  Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers falls to the floor after his shot against the Denver Nuggets during Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at Staples Center on May 1, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

You have to give the Houston Rockets a bit of credit for being aggressive this offseason for trying to land the big man of their future.

While Houston has been linked to both Dwight Howard and Andrew Bynum in the past couple of weeks, the Rockets must realize that Bynum is the better fit for them long-term and do whatever it takes to make sure he is in a Rockets uniform.

Both men have outstanding numbers and are widely considered the two best centers in the NBA today, but if I'm the Rockets then Bynum has to be seen as the better fit.

Bynum possesses some of the same negative qualities that Howard does, including a questionable attitude, injury history, immaturity and volatility. Both players, while their production is great, come with a ton of baggage and serve as a huge distraction both on and off the court.

Having a true center in today's game is a luxury and Bynum is one of only a handful in the game, so dealing with the baggage is something the Rockets must be willing to do to reap the benefits of his potential dominance.

Bynum, at 24, is two years younger than Howard and just starting to evolve as a force in the paint. Sure, Bynum's knees are a concern, but not nearly as much of a concern as Howard's back.

Bynum did play in 60 of 66 games in 2012, missing four with suspension, one to rest for the playoffs and one due to a sprained ankle, so he's coming off of a year with no knee issues, which is encouraging.

Coming off of a season in which he averaged 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game, his numbers only stand to keep getting better. That potential we've been hearing about for years is starting to show and the sky could be the limit as far as how high he can go as a player.

Looking in terms of efficiency, Bynum and Howard's 2011-2012 regular season and playoffs combined PER of 24.1 and 26.4, respectively, are close, but you can argue that Bynum's numbers carry more weight, given that he played more games (72) than Howard (54).

Also consider the fact that the physicality that Bynum brings is unmatched. He doesn't play above the rim like Howard, but he can do just about anything he wants to, including shoot free throws (71 percent in 2011-2012; Howard 49 percent).

Finally, the reason to choose Bynum is the fact that he may want to be there and Howard doesn't.

Bynum will never be the cornerstone of the Lakers franchise as long as Kobe Bryant is around. The Rockets, however, can afford to give him that opportunity.

Though he's not a free agent until next season, there have already been reports that the Rockets are one of the teams he would be interested in signing with.

Houston general manager Daryl Morey must not waste time trying to acquire Howard, unless he want to bring the circus that Howard created in Orlando for the past year to town.

Two or three years from now, we may be calling Bynum the best center in basketball and not Howard.

If Morey is to roll the dice on one of the NBA's best big man, it should be Bynum, as he can help carry the Rockets to places they haven't been in a very long time.