Sunday, April 22, 2012
BY WAY OF BYNUM
By TIM DAVID HARVEY
Andrew Bynum is the Los Angeles Lakers next great centre and right now is creating a lasting legacy that will go down in history of purple and gold big men legend down the same line as Laker greats George Mikan, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O'Neal. Standing on the stilts and running on the diesel of giants Andrew Bynum is carrying the tall torch of the next post presence of this storied franchise.
The paint punctuater is just that good at the young age of 24, standing next to number 24 Kobe Bryant with pride and power. Minus some Dwight Howard trade rumors and knee and growing pains 'Drew looks like being not only the Lakers but the greatest centre in the National Basketball Association for at the very least the next decade. He's just that good and the last (alongside the oft-compared and contrasted Howard) of a dying breed, keeping one of the most pivotal positions on the basketball floor alive and fighting...dominating in fact.
Sure there is still some maturing years before this kid reaches his prime but the fact that he's looking this good now is just crazy. Sure one week he was jacking up threes and getting tossed from games like he was acting his jersey size not his age but the next 7 days saw the number 17 join the exclusive company of Mikan, Wilt, Kareem and Elgin Baylor by taking 30 rebounds away from Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs. The big legendary Shaquille O'Neal didn't even do that. Now do you think the young baby Shaq, Bynum is ready for the playoffs, the big time and another championship? You bet!
This week gone Andrew Bynum led his Los Angeles Lakers sans Bryant (while Kobe showed he was 'The Zen Mamba' of sideline coaching), just like he led the Western All-Star team this year. Standing next to fellow February star Bean Bryant, the former 'Western Conference Player of the Week' Bynum has shown the league it's best, one-two punch, inside and out not called Kobe and Pau. Minus a few years of experience and a youthful, more Afro sporting Kobe this post and perimeter dominance is almost reminiscent of the dynamic duo that was Shaq and Kobe...minus the arguments. O'Neal and Bryant where arguably the NBA's greatest partnership ever but on this new versatile Laker squad Bynum forms more than one great couple on this complete team.
There's the unstoppable force meets the immovable object frontcourt tandem with Spanish fighter Pau Gasol and then there's the future of this Showtime ballclub that is Andrew and the Lakers new point Ramon Sessions. Long when Pau heads back to Spain for retirement and Kobe lands somewhere in Italy for a post-sneaker unlacing trip back down memory lane, number 17 will still be in L.A. with the teams new number 7, showing the Buss family and the rest of the league that trading for Dwight Howard would have been an unnecessary move.
Still that's a long time from now. As Bynum dukes it out with Dwight going elbow for elbow with the new Superman like he did Shaq in his rookie year. He'll be Kryptonite to this generations man of steel and whatever else the league of superheroes has to throw at him over the next few years. People can expect more golden years for the purple hearted Lake Show. From Kobe to Pau, Sessions and more the Lakers have double team threats everywhere, like their renaissance men and defensive duo of Matt Barnes and Metta World Peace causing war and hell to pay for the oppositions offence. Still point for paint point, pound for muscle pound, standing at the centre of it all will be Andrew.
Team USA will sure miss him this Summer, but if this knee issue is finally cleared up in Germany like Kobe's was then this young man can finally show us just how good he can really get. From the zen of Phil Jackson's mastering to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's legendary teaching and tutoring the torch will well and truly be passed. Sure not carrying the Olympic flame for the U.S. may singe his status a little bit but once Bynum shows us more of the fire inside he will look to burn brighter than most of the illuminating, hot star talents in the league.
From being the youngest player to ever play in an NBA game to rounding out to being a solid 20 and 10 threat this young man has achieved so much but still has so much more to do. Once he stops flagrantly ripping off his jersey you can count on that number 17 one day being raised in respect next to the 13 of Chamberlain and the 33 of 'Cap. Right now he's just that good. Give it a few years and he could be truly one of the greats.