When the Los Angeles Lakers took Andrew Bynum with the 10th pick in the 2005 NBA draft, they probably didn't know how high his value would be in 2011.
On Nov. 2, 2005, Bynum became the youngest player to ever play in a NBA game at 18 years, six days old. His progression was not steady, as it was filled with blatant ups and downs.
After watching the Boston Celtics rout the Lakers in Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals, Bynum knew he didn't want to be a spectator again. He went on to play a significant role in both the 2009 and 2010 NBA Finals the Lakers captured.
In 2010, Bynum played the entire postseason with a torn meniscus and a strained Achilles tendon. He was still able to log over 24 minutes a game, grabbing nearly seven boards and registering 1.6 blocks per contest. Bynum proved not only his worth, but also his toughness.
As Kobe Bryant ages, he's become more vocal about his need for help. Bynum and company can no longer stand around and watch Kobe shred the defense. The Lakers are becoming more of a balanced attack—something they are benefiting greatly from.
Los Angeles is 16-1 since the All-Star break, far and away the best record of anyone in the NBA since the brief time off. Bynum missed two of the games due to a suspension for a hard foul, but has been extremely efficient on the floor.
He's averaging 12.4 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in the 14 games he's played in, significantly higher than his season averages of 8.9 and 1.9 in those respective categories.
Here are eight reasons why Bynum's play has an indicative affect on the Lakers' results and chances in the playoffs.