Dwight Howard: Lakers Must Stop Pursuing D12 and Commit to Andrew Bynum

Oren FriedmanCorrespondent IIJuly 15, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19:  Andrew Bynum #17 of the Los Angeles Lakers dunks the ball over Kendrick Perkins #5 of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the third quarter in Game Four of the Western Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs on May 19 at Staples Center 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 Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

With trade talks swirling involving a deal that would send disgruntled center Dwight Howard to Hollywood, Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak should re-evaluate dealing Andrew Bynum

While Howard is regarded as the undisputed best center in the NBA, he does not have that much on Bynum. 

Three-time Defensive Player of the Year and five-time All-NBA First Teamer Howard is a threat down low on both sides of the ball. While his offensive game is raw, many believe that D12 will eventually develop some go-to moves down low. 

Nevertheless, the numbers don’t suggest that the Lakers would be getting much of an upgrade if they acquired Howard and gave up Bynum.

Howard put up 20.6 PPG, just four more than Bynum’s 16.7 PPG in the postseason. The Magic center puts up an impressive 14.5 RPG compared to Bynum’s 11.1 RPG in the playoffs, but it’s not like Bynum’s board numbers were hurting the Lakers.

The Lake Show was second overall in rebounds per game at 46.2, a product of LAL's twin towers in Bynum and forward Paul Gasol.

Under coach Mike Brown, the Lakers also had a defensive edge that utilized Bynum in the middle. The young center rode Brown’s system to a resounding 3.1 blocks per game in the playoffs. 

Bynum even had a triple-double, including 10 blocked shots in the Lakers’ playoff opener against the Nuggets.

Although Howard might be the most dominant big man in the league, it’s hard to imagine him putting up better numbers than Bynum.

The Lakers' most pressing need is on offense.  

Adding Steve Nash was the right remedy for the Lakers' brass, as the Canadian should help the purple and gold bring showtime back to Los Angeles.

While adding Howard would give the Lakers a comparable excitement factor to rival the Clippers’ Lob City, it wouldn’t be shocking if Howard’s numbers took a hit playing alongside Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

In Orlando, the offense ran through Howard because he was the biggest offensive threat.

Moving to Los Angeles would be a game-changer for Superman, as he’d likely be the third option on offense, behind at least Bryant and Gasol. 

Add in Howard’s raw postgame, and the offense might be more efficient if it retains Bynum.

Despite Howard’s tenure in the league, he still lacks any semblance of a dominant postgame. His moves lack the necessary combination of finesse and power, and he is a liability from the free-throw line. 

On the other hand, Bynum is just starting to come to his own on the block.

He benefitted from Coach Brown’s offensive scheme that had him sealing off opposing big men for easy dunks and layups. His 78.3 percent shooting clip from the line is also encouraging, especially considering that it significantly trumps Howard’s woeful 49.1 percent average from the charity stripe.

Playing alongside Nash will be even more of a boon to Bynum’s offensive game.

Nash has never played with a true center like Bynum, save a couple of years playing alongside an old Shaquille O’Neal in Phoenix. Once the two develop a chemistry, Bynum could become the most dominant center in the league.

Howard’s name is alluring, and Laker fans should be salivating over the opportunity of starting four potential Hall of Famers. 

But when it’s all said and done, the Lakers might make the best offseason move by resisting the temptation to add more star power to an already loaded roster and holding on to the soft-spoken Bynum.