The name’s Alex and as a Lakers’ fan, I look forward to contributing to Lake Show Life from time to time. To check out my other work, head over to NBAtipoff.com.
Andrew Bynum made it through the playoffs without getting hurt. That was one big hurtle he was able to cross. What other ones face him now?
Bynum did his job when he got good starts. He contributed by getting offensive boards and second chance points and changing the way the opponent penetrated to the basket. What held him back was foul trouble. There were a countless number of games where he’d start off fine, contributing to a strong Laker start, but was then taken out because of picking up two or three fouls.
An NBA big man has to know when and when not to use his fouls. Thinking back, I can remember seeing both reasonable and unreasonable fouls from Andrew. Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson questioned if his foul trouble was even bad for the Lakers. That would have annoyed me if I were Bynum. His backup was Lamar Odom and they were getting at how Andrew’s play had been static, whereas Odom started to play his best ball of the year.
While foul trouble was a huge detriment to his consistency, his overall consistency has been sporadic. As I said earlier, his better games were based on strong starts. Those starts were usually the only part of his games that were full of solid play. He would either not play because of foul trouble, or Odom filled in and took some of his minutes. If he said he probably got a little cold on that bench, I’d say it’s an excuse. Not that he shouldn’t be ready to come back as a professional athlete, but I’m just laying out all the possible options.
Bynum will realize that fouls and level of play are directly entwined with the kind of minutes he will get. The sooner he does, the sooner we see him get more minutes. Whether or not Laker fans like that, it will lead to a more developed big man for the future. A developed big man also needs many post moves and counters.
Improved Post Offense
Bynum is further than Dwight Howard in terms of post offense (he’s also good considering he’s in his early 20’s). If you throw it down to Bynum, Lakers will probably score half the time. I’d say that Howard is only going to score about 25-30% of the time in the post.
While Bynum’s better than some other young bigs, he’s not ever going to stop working to be the best or, once there, continue to be the best. His mentor is Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, so there’s no excuse for him not improving in the post.
One thing I’d especially love to see him do: catch, turn, face and do a Tim Duncan bank jumper. I know Howard, his competition, works on this move. Whoever is able to add that into their repertoire will become a lot more lethal. If Bynum could become a consistent mid-range shooter, it would give him many more options on offense and possibly change his whole offensive game. Guys would cover him differently, scouting reports would change. That’s how you scare defenses. When they know you do lots of things with the ball, they realize they’re in for a long night.
So how does Bynum take these tips and improve?
Adding to Bynum’s Game
The only way Bynum can accomplish any of the things I’d like him to are to work harder in the gym and watch game film. I don’t think he’s reached his potential yet. In the gym, he’s got to first work alone. Figure what he needs to improve and put in a week or so of work on it. Then, he can begin applying it in pickup games.
Then, he should take it a step further and show Kareem what he’s been working on. Show Kareem how hungry you are, Andrew. I’m sure whatever you’d have to show would be well received, even it still needs work.
I’m not trying to give him a training schedule. I’m just making suggestions of how he might work on certain skills. Whatever way he works is fine with me, as long as he works.
When watching game film, he needs to find new moves to add on offense and figure out new defensive tactics. I would say he should watch Tim Duncan, David Robinson, and someone old school like Kevin McHale (his options are limitless really).
However you do it Andrew, just work! The goal is to get better and I’m behind you. Keep in mind that you’re not the best yet and work as long as you need to everyday to get closer to perfection. I look forward to seeing the results of your hard work in your game next year!