On the heels of his first All-Star selection and amidst a stellar 2011-12 campaign with the Los Angeles Lakers, Andrew Bynum figured it made sense to shoot a three-pointer from the top of the arc with 16 seconds left on the shot clock and over 10 minutes remaining in the third quarter.
It was an unsettling reminder that Bynum's problems have never been about injury alone, that both then and now, getting him right requires more than rehabbing those knees. It also had to be one of the reasons L.A. was content to part ways with him despite having no guarantee Dwight Howard would stay.
Thus far, it seems Bynum's young tenure with the Cleveland Cavaliers is on the right track both physically and mentally.
According to The Plain Dealer's Mary Schmitt Boyer, Bynum says he's been working out at the Cavs' practice facility ever since he got into town: "I'm there, focused. I'm doing everything I can do to get back. That's what all this is all about for me right now. I just want to play."
The team is saying all the right things, too, and these would all be signs of encouragement were they not all too familiar. Bynum expressed confidence he'd return to the floor back in December, again sounding optimistic a few weeks later.
But this was all coming from the would-be superstar who reportedly hurt himself bowling earlier in November. None of it makes Bynum a bad guy and we'd been remiss to ignore his bad luck.
But going forward for Cleveland, this isn't about assigning blame. It's about winning—putting Bynum's past behind him and starting anew. It won't happen instantly, but the formula for Bynum's success isn't as exotic as you might think.