Andrew Bynum is one of the best centers in the league when healthy. He's well-known for his presence in the paint, shot-blocking ability, defense and excellent footwork.
Standing at 7' and already a two-time NBA champion at the age of 24, Andrew Bynum is widely considered the future of the Lakers organization once Kobe is unable to carry the team.
Averaging 11 points and just under 10 rebounds with two blocks in around 28 minutes a game, Bynum is definitely an impact player when he's on court.
One can only wonder, however, how the Lakers would have done if we removed Andrew Bynum from the roster and replaced him with one of the team's (and league's) greats that played the same position.
What if we replaced Andrew Bynum with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar? Kareem didn't spend his entire career with the Lakers, but he did spend the majority of his years and accumulated the bulk of his accomplishments with the team.
This past season was Andrew Bynum's sixth in the NBA, so we will be using the statistics from Kareem's sixth season in the league. Coincidentally, this was also the year before Kareem joined the Lakers. Let's see how these two compare:
|Player||Points Per Game||Rebounds Per Game||Assists Per Game||Steals Per Game||Blocks Per Game||Field Goal %||Free Throw %|
|Andrew Bynum ||11.3||9.4||1.1||0.4||2.0||57.4%||68.6%|
Well, it seems the result is clear. It was expected, too.
No offense to Andrew Bynum, of course, but Kareem's sixth season was when he won his third MVP award. Not only that, he had already led his team to a championship in his second season. When you're being compared to someone like that, it's hard to match up.
For the Lakers, however, the result is clear. Alongside Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom, you now have one of the greatest centers (and players) ever to man that position.
The Lakers won 57 games with Andrew Bynum starting in 47 of them and appearing in 54. Unfortunately, this happens to be one of the few times in Kareem's career (only happened one other time) that he played less than 70 games in a season; he only played 65 games.
Still, I suspect that with Kareem, the Lakers would obviously win a lot more than 57 games. In fact, I'd put them in the 64-67 win area. Too high? Too low? My reasoning is justified.
Kareem was the MVP in his sixth season, and even though he only played 65 games, he'd essentially fill the role that Shaq filled on the Lakers back during the 1998-2000 "three-peat."
The Lakers would overwhelm their opponents with the combined firepower of Pau Gasol, Kareem and Kobe. He was also a decent distributor for his position, having averaged four assists a game.
I'm not sure how Kobe would react to not being the leading scorer on his team post-Shaq. However, I am absolutely sure that the Lakers would definitely be a better team.
What about the postseason? Well, Kareem averaged 32 points, 15.8 rebounds and five assists in 16 games. Going by the stats, and having Kobe, Gasol and Odom as teammates, I think I can safely say the Lakers would be good for the title.
What do you think would happen if Kareem replaced Bynum? How many games do you think they would win? How about the postseason? Would they win it all? We'll never know for sure, but it is an interesting prospect to consider.
Is my analysis on point or dead wrong? Am I incorrectly assuming the abilities of one of the greatest players ever in the game? Did I leave out something important? Please let me know in the comment section. Thanks for reading.