I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: Andrew Bynum is the best center in the Western Conference. Minus Dwight Howard, he’s the best in the league.
No other center in the NBA today has Bynum’s strength, athleticism, and skill.
Due to the Lakers' depth of offensive talent, Bynum doesn’t put up monstrous stats—unless he gets going. In football, offensive players that become more elusive and potent as they continue to advance are called downhill runners.
Well, Bynum’s a downhill center.
Once you get him going, his confidence skyrockets and he blocks, rebounds, and scores like a man possessed. It's fitting that the number Bynum wears (17) is exactly half the number Shaquille O’Neal wore during his time in Los Angeles (34).
Bynum may not have the indefensible physique that Shaq once did, but the nature of his game still somewhat mirrors that of the early 2000’s Shaq. Like Shaq, Bynum is big, strong, skilled, and prides himself on being an intimidator. Most teams, the Thunder included, have no answer for a player of his stature at the center position.
For the Lakers to succeed not only tonight, but for the duration of the playoffs, they will need to continue to defer to Andrew Bynum. Keeping his confidence and production high will be one of the main determinants in whether the Lakers will repeat as champions.