In case you haven’t noticed Andrew Bynum is now the man behind the man. Kobe Bryant will always be the first, last and best option so long as he’s wearing purple and gold. However the next in line behind Mamba is no longer Pau Gasol.
For years we’re heard all the talk of Gasol being soft. I never bought into any of that nonsense. Pau’s not your typical European big man. While he’s not a low post banger, Gasol’s game has always been 15-feet and in. He’s not camping out behind the three point line like other Euro 7-footers. Gasol plays with his back to the hoop so don’t get it twisted just case he can face up too.
To me Pau’s not soft as much as he is content.
Pau is proud to be a Laker. More than happy to be a two-time world champion. He’s also all too willing to accept whatever role is thrown his way. A good attribute also a limiting one.
Gasol’s not soft. He’s just not as aggressive as you’d like a franchise big to be.
Now Andrew Bynum, on the other hand, he has the classic game of a true center. Bynum bangs, bullies and bludgeons the opposition. His game is 10-feet and in.
Another thing about Drew is that he’s hungry. Bynum has the thirst to be the best. He won’t settle for being an ancillary piece of the puzzle. Andrew wants to be the key to solve the championship equation.
Though his immaturity may belittle his work ethic, make no mistake, Andrew Bynum won’t accept a back seat. He wants to ride shotgun with Kobe while Pau is all too happy to ride bitch so long as he has a seat.
It’s just that simple and anyone that has seen how Drew has attacked while Gasol has slacked will attest to that.
This isn’t to say that Gasol has nothing left to contribute. Quite the opposite in fact. You can’t grow athletic big men on trees. Pau will always be an NBA commodity. Which is precisely why he’s suddenly becoming the most likely Laker to join Lamar Odom with a one-way ticket waiting at LAX. Gasol’s days in L.A. are surely numbered. He’s already been dealt once. Don’t think it won’t happen again (unless Commissioner Stern has something else to say).
Maybe Bynum’s ego is what ultimately motivates his desires while Pau follows his heart. That is commendable but this is not a high-society gathering to sample imported tea. This is the NBA where the world’s best compete to prove their worth.
Pau has proven much in his time but he’s also proven to be incapable of being a franchise player. No shame in that as those franchise types don’t come around all that often. Still, you’d like to at least see Gasol shoot for the stars even if his reach could barely touch the moon.
For years now we’ve been waiting to see Gasol demand the ball. We collectively sigh every time he gets the rock and postures instead of punishing the opposition.
With Bynum there is no hesitation. He gets the ball and goes to work. That mentality alone speaks volumes. It says Bynum came to get his while Gasol waits to see what the defense gives him. Pau’s passive nature is finally in full view.
Before this year the argument was that Bynum just wasn’t quite ready or he was not healthy. Now that we’re seeing Drew at full strength it is obvious just how vast the difference is between the two bigs.
Size might matter but the game speaks louder. Right about now Bynum’s presence screams “feed me the rock” while Pau’s passiveness quietly mumbles “please give me a touch”.