Andrew Bynum has to ask himself one question: what kind of star am I gonna be?
We know what he can provide ont the court…he’s an undisputed All-Star in this league. But will he have a career like Tim Duncan or more like Rasheed Wallace? They both were perennial All-Stars and, both can say that they’re NBA champions. The difference? only one was a franchise player.
This team needs his leadership as much as points & rebounds going forwward…Kobe Bryant isn’t going to play forever. But can the Lakers can build around Andrew for the rest of this decade? Maybe he’d be better off on a team of balanced stars that all share the leadership and franchise tag (i.e.- Pistons in 2004). It’s quickly becoming decision time for both Andrew and the Los Angeles Lakers.
Remember when Andrew was the least predictable player on the Lakers roster? You knew what you’d get from him…close to a double-double and rim protection. Other than the occasional foul trouble Phil Jackson was more concerned with Lamar Odom‘s emotions, Pau Gasol‘s physicality, and Ron Artest‘s well… everything. Today, the biggest variable for Mike Brown is his second best player and where his head’s at any given night…and it may just be getting to be a little too much for the coach.
Andrew was ejected versus the Houston Rockets (again) after two very unnecessary technical fouls. I’m sorry, but how many rings does the duo of Marcus Camby and Samuel Dalembert have again? Still, Bynum was frustrated enough to lose his cool. He felt he was getting roughed up, challenged physically. On the first tech it was about frustration. The second one he received while talking to the Rocket bench after making a simple basket a few minutes later. If this was an isolated incident, it would be easy to dismiss it as ‘just one of those nights’. But it’s a microcosm of Andrew’s attitude the last year or so. He’s making emotional mistakes worthy of a rookie…not a veteran, an All-Star, a former champion. Mike Brown’s press conference after the game was typical ‘PC’ Mike… but he did mention that his center “will be dealt with.” I’m sure Drew was shaking in his Nikes.
So how do the Lakers change what’s happening with their man in the middle? I think it must come from Bynum, himself. Andrew should place a long distance call to Memphis. Zach Randolph for years was considered a joke…a nut case. Just ask the Trailblazers, Knicks, and Clippers fans what they think of Z-Bo’s run. Today, Zach is a bona fide All-Star and the face of the Grizzlies (apologies to Rudy Gay and Marc Gasol). He is the last player head coach Lionel Hollins has to worry about (his knee may be a different story).
Maybe Bynum just needs to look in his own locker room. Kobe Bryant has been eerily quiet with Bynum’s run lately of ref taunting and three-point shooting…and I completely understand. Bryant was always pushing the issue as young, cocky player and was never set straight. How could he sit Andrew down and tell him to do as he says not as he did? It aon’t happening.
I think there’s only one thing that can help Andrew Bynum at this point…..World Peace. I’m calling for an intervention by Metta, the artist former known as Ron Artest. As one of Andrew’s biggest buddies on the team, MWP needs to take ‘Drew’ into the video room and lock the door. He should show him clips of his early career. If there’s one guy who knows what Bynums’ going through it’s Ron, err, Metta. Early on in Chicago he began to realize he was a star player (like AB is seeing now) but didn’t know back then how to do the other things that go along with that…making sure the team goal is above your personal ones. The team eventually moved him to Indiana where the same hopes existed for Larry Bird and the Pacers. It wasn’t until Artest’s years in Sacramento and Houston that he finally got it.
The Lakers are hoping that Bynum doesn’t have to change zip codes in order to change his attitude…..and legacy.