When Andrew Bynum Returns, So Do the Lakers Championship Hopes

Tyler SimmonsContributor IMarch 31, 2009

We all know what Andrew Bynum is good for and what he brings to the table, right?

A taller Ben Wallace-type player, with perhaps a bit more athleticism, and offense to his game. 

Rebounding, toughness, a big body in the middle to battle with Tim Duncan, Yao Ming, and potentially Kevin Garnett in the playoffs.

I am thoroughly convinced that the Lakers absolutely need Andrew Bynum if they want a chance at an NBA Championship this year. 

Let's take a look at the Spurs, who have been the most dominant team the last five years or so. 

The big thing that stands out with the Spurs is variety!

The different paces they can play the game makes them a bad matchup for whoever they play. 

They can go with an up-tempo, Phoenix Sun type philosophy, and go to Duncan in the middle, along with Roger Mason Jr., Michael Finley, Manu Ginobili, and Tony Parker to pick apart a team's defense and wear the other team out.

They can go all-defensive, but still manage to have a good offensive game and go with Kurt Thomas in the middle and Tim Duncan at the four-spot.

Then for the wings, fill them with two of the following three: Finley, Ginobili, or Roger Mason Jr. Of course, Tony Parker leads the point. 

What this different look ideally does is matchup and exploit other teams' weaknesses regardless of who they play. 

Now with the Lakers, they have the up-tempo lineup down perfectly. 

Pau Gasol, who is a mobile five-man, plays the middle. Odom another mobile, quick big man, plays the power forward position.

You fill out the rest of the lineup with Ariza/Walton, Kobe Bryant, and Derek Fisher. 

The key is the versatility of the big men.

They can run, catch, and can shoot from the free-throw line extended. 

They compliment those skills with rebounding, and mediocre physical toughness.

But what happens when you want to slow down the tempo and play defensive type of basketball? 

You're gonna want to slip Pau Gasol over to the four-spot, and put a defensive minded center on the floor.

I'm no expert by any means, but DJ Mbenga or Josh Powell are not the answer.

Andrew Bynum's return will complete the team.

They will then have the luxury of putting Pau Gasol in his natural position at the four, and matchup to play defensive ball when they need to lock down teams.

A great offensive team can only bring you so far, as shown by the former look of the Phoenix Suns.

You need a San Antonio Spurs type philosophy where you can change the look of your team whenever you may need to, and grind out those playoff wins. 

Bottom Line: Andrew Bynum, get yourself ready to play some basketball come playoff time.