The stage is all set for Andrew Bynum to make his debut tonight in DC. His teammates are fired up fresh off another meet and greet with President Obama. The Washington Wizards are downtrodden and thin in the frontline. The Laker bigs are badly in need of relief.
Things couldn’t be better suited for Bynum’s long awaited return.
In fact, all things being considered, we could see a productive outing from Drew tonight. There’s no telling how many minutes he’ll log but his mere presence alone should be a major upgrade on the defensive end. Bynum’s ability to defend the rim and haul in boards will be the biggest areas in which he’ll contribute immediately.
Now on the offensive end, well, that is a much different story.
If Drew starts, that means Lamar Odom will be back to his sixth man role. Whether that happens tonight or in two weeks is irrelevant. It’s coming soon enough and that means the bench will be getting a major boost. Now, Pau Gasol will have to adapt to switching between the 4 and the 5 as Phil Jackson works out his rotations while the team as a whole will need to find ways to incorporate Drew into the offense.
Pau’s productivity has dipped considerably the last two weeks. Some will reference his major minutes as the biggest reason. Whatever the case, he’s set to get some great looks now that Bynum is back.
Where Drew helps the offense immediately is by creating another matchup nightmare for the opposition. Odom and Bynum bring much different looks to the Lake Show when they’re paired alongside Pau. With LO in the game, his rebounding and ability to get out in transition creates mismatches all over the court as teams scramble to defend open Lakers. On the other hand, with Bynum on the block, Pau will get cleaner looks as teams won’t be able to send double teams his way.
Overall, Bynum’s return will mean more in what he does for his teammates by simply being in the game. Early on, defending and rebounding should be the only focus. The offense will come naturally but isn’t a priority even with the recent offensive woes. Still, I’m expecting Drew to turn a few heads tonight as I think he’s a little further along than we’ve been lead to believe.
Get your popcorn ready! We could be looking at a major turning point early in the season.