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Andrew Bynum Makes Cleveland Cavaliers Debut vs. Brooklyn Nets

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 17:  Andrew Bynum #21 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots free throws prior to the game against the Detroit Pistons at The Quicken Loans Arena on October 17, 2013 in Cleveland, Ohio. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by David Liam Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)
Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistOctober 30, 2013

Andrew Bynum made a surprising debut for the Cleveland Cavaliers in their season opener against the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday evening.

Fox Sports Ohio's Sam Amico had the news:

It was his first game since May of 2012, a streak that latest 527 days. Bynum ended up registering three points, three rebounds, two blocks and two assists while shooting 1-of-5 from the field in eight minutes of action in a Cavs 98-94 win.

Bynum missed all of last season, his only one with the Philadelphia 76ers, due to lingering knee injuries that eventually required season-ending surgery. While he was a bust for the 76ers, his remaining upside led Cleveland to take a chance on him in the offseason.

Signing the recently-turned 26-year-old center to a two-year, $24 million deal came with plenty of risk. He's appeared in more than 60 regular-season games just once since the Los Angeles Lakers used a first-round pick to select him in the 2005 NBA draft.

Any player with chronic knee problems is an immediate red flag for teams around the NBA. Yet, when you pair a potential star like Bynum with the fact that the league lacks reliable frontcourt contributors, it often leads franchises to take chances to fill a void.

Two seasons ago, Bynum was an extremely promising young center. He averaged nearly 19 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks a game while shooting 56 percent from the floor. Whether he will ever return to that level for an extended stretch remains a mystery, however.

The Cavaliers hoped he would at least come close to those All-Star level numbers when they inked him to the two-year deal.

Now, the team will begin to find out exactly how effective Bynum can be after missing so much time trying to get his knees back to full strength.

Initial expectations should be low. Cleveland will likely attempt to work Bynum cautiously into the mix at the outset, and if he can avoid any injury setbacks throughout the process, that alone would probably be considered a success.

From there, the Cavs can start increasing his minutes to see how much he can handle on a nightly basis. The good news is that he doesn't need to play 40 minutes per game to make an impact. If he can play around 28 minutes consistently, that would be enough.

As for now, Cleveland will just be happy Bynum is finally ready to roll.

 

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