With four games under his belt it’s time to take a look at how Andrew Bynum is faring in his return.
First things first, since Bynum’s return the Lakers are looking like champs once again. In limited minutes, Bynum’s presence in the middle has opened up everything for the Lake Show. Suddenly all those open lanes to the hoop are looking a little more congested with a big bodied seven-footer defending the rim. In addition, Bynum gives the Lakers yet another rebounder which translates to better team defense and more second chance opportunities on offense.
The legs of Lamar Odom and Pau Gasol are the most appreciative of all. Drew’s 18 minutes a night have lifted the burden from LO and the Spaniard making those back-to-backs on the road much more manageable.
Turning the focus to Bynum’s actual performance reveals his rust. Until Sunday’s 16 point, 7 board effort in Toronto Drew was struggling to find his rhythm. His baby hook was flat and general timing is still off. Anytime a player’s shot is flat you can usually blame his legs. Chalk that up to knee surgery. The timing will come as Bynum’s role expands and he gets more time on the court.
The real concern is that Andrew felt a “twinge” in his knee on Sunday. With the way Andrew manned up in the Finals, you can bet he’ll play through the pain. That is not a concern. What could be troubling is just how much the soreness could affect Andrew throughout the season. If it becomes problematic then Phil Jackson might have to resort to resting Drew or possibly shutting him down for an extended period to ensure he’s ready for the playoffs.
All in all, Andrew’s return has been a breath of fresh air for the Lakers and his performance is on the up swing. As usual though his health will be the main focus going forward and hopefully we’ll see Bynum on the court for the rest of the season.