Dwight Howard vs. Andrew Bynum Comparison

Phil G@FuturePhilGCorrespondent IJuly 24, 2012

Dwight Howard vs. Andrew Bynum Comparison

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    Will Dwight Howard find his way to Hollywood? Will Andrew Bynum give potential trade suitors the assurance they need for a long-term extension? Will the top two centers in the game eventually mature as they both enter their primes?

    I can't answer those questions. Instead, I would rather partake in the discussion of who is the best big man in the league right now. 

    Is it the talented but unstable Bynum, or does Howard still have a strong grip on that title? The only way to find out is through detailed comparisons of their game. 

    Note: I've included a bonus kicker at the end about where I think Dwight and Bynum will end up!  

Offensive Awareness and Repertoire

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    Edge: Andrew Bynum

    Dwight Howard has improved in the pivot, but in terms of pure skill, Bynum has the definite edge. 

    While Dwight has worked with Hakeem Olajuwon for a short period of time, Bynum has had the fortunate advantage of being tutored by the great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for several seasons. 

    Bynum has excellent footwork, and his length allows him to be effective with either the left or right hook shot. In addition, Bynum can seduce opposing bigs with up-and-unders, drop steps and a surprisingly improved jump shot. 

    With such soft hands, it's no wonder Bynum has made improvements as a jump shooter in the range of 10-11 feet. 

    In addition, Bynum has made strides as a passer, especially out of double-teams. Having played alongside such excellent big-man passers in Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom over the years, it has likely helped Bynum in this area. 

Defensive Awareness and Shot Blocking

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    Edge: Dwight Howard

    While Andrew Bynum has the physical talent to be a dominating defensive presence, it is yet to be seen on a consistent basis. 

    Dwight, on the other hand, has the pedigree––three-time Defensive Player of Year award winner—and athleticism to be a game-changer on the defensive end. 

    While Howard is known for his shot-blocking prowess, it's his mobility that allows him to be special.

    Despite being shorter than Bynum, Howard's athleticism allows his to cover more space around the paint area. 

    In addition, Dwight has never had a defensive big (or offensive one, for that matter) to help take the load off on that end.

    On top of that, Dwight also had to cover up for the poor perimeter defenders that former Magic general manager Otis Smith surrounded him with on a yearly basis.

Athleticism

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    Edge: Dwight Howard 

    This shouldn't be a debate. Dwight Howard is far and away the most athletic big in the NBA

    Andrew Bynum is surprisingly quick-footed in short areas, but any analyst would tell you that he looks like a sloth when lumbering down the court. 

Consistency

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    Edge: Dwight Howard

    Of the two, Howard has the definite edge in this area. 

    While Dwight has his limitations on offense, he has never been known as a quitter. The same can't be said for Andrew Bynum. 

    Bynum had a breakout season this past year, but his maturity issues were also on full display for the world to see.

    At times last season—Game 3 of the Lakers' first-round matchup with the Denver Nuggets comes to mind—it was quite evident that Bynum took some games off.

    While Dwight has his own maturity issues to deal with, questions regarding his preparedness have never dogged the three-time Defensive Player of the Year. 

    Even with the hoopla of last year's trade deadline on his mind, Howard was still dominating the stat sheet. 

Injury

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    Edge: Dwight Howard

    Andrew Bynum has a significant injury history, but in the lockout-shortened season, the 24-year-old center started 60 games out of possible 66. 

    It seems the Lakers have found the right formula to keep Bynum upright and healthy for long stretches during the season. While this is good news, who knows if Bynum will continue to stay healthy for an 82-game season?

    Howard, on the other hand, has shown to be quite indestructible over his career, much like his publicized Superman persona. 

    His back injury last year is a little concerning, but I don't suspect this will be an issue for whichever team Howard suits up for in 2012. 

Overall

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    Winner: Dwight Howard 

    Superman prevails. While Andrew Bynum has shown stretches of dominating play, his consistency issues dogged him in this race. 

    I still believe Bynum has the higher upside, but the better player right now is Dwight Howard. 

    Bonus kicker: In my eyes, Bynum will end up with the Houston Rockets, and Howard will join the ranks of Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and newly acquired point guard Steve Nash in Los Angeles.