Magic center Dwight Howard, who is out for the rest of the season because of back surgery, and Lakers center Andrew Bynum are the top players at their position. These players dominate the paint, but it comes at a price: they bring more drama than a daytime soap opera.
Please forgive me for I am about to sound like a complete homer here for the first time ever since my initiation as a sports fan. But, I will take Andrew Bynum over Dwight Howard as my big man on my basketball squad any day. Yes, I said it. Bynum over Howard!
Both are the biggest babies in the league, behind LeBron James of course, but I digress. My point is that on the scale of the big men prima donnas of the NBA, they cancel each other out.
Episode after episode of both Bynum and Howard sagas are fitting for the NBA this season. First the lockout, then the decision to cram 66 games into 66 days (very slight exaggeration), next, David Stern please veto a Chris Paul trade to the Lakers! And finally let’s see what our superstar big men are up to this year. Drama.
Lakers center Andrew Bynum is having the best season of his career. A look at his statistics per game:
Field Goal Percentage: 56 percent
Anyhow, as I was waiting for my landlord to come pick up my hard-earned money, little did I know our conversation would consist of him calling Bynum soft.
“You mean Gasol, right?” I asked.
He was confused and responded with, “I just think a true big man is Dwight Howard.”
So he not only takes my money, but then insults my intelligence. Doesn’t this guy know I am the equivalent of J.A. Adande for the Girth? How could he say such a thing? Anyhow, this conversation brings me to my next point.
Bynum, though not as physically overpowering and intimidating with muscle upon muscle, has much better footwork, plays with effective finesse, and exhibits far better shooting versatility than Howard. Bynum is skilled with both hands and can make a move to the basket in either direction. Howard uses sheer power that is both indefensible and unteachable, which he has used to his advantage more so each year of his career.
However, Bynum is having a breakout year and I would argue has not yet reached his full capacity. He has become the centerpiece of this year’s Lakers team surpassing Pau Gasol in their frontcourt. This is his first full season without nagging injuries that has kept him out for extensive periods. He is younger than Howard and has much more upside than Howard. As special as Howard has been we have seen his story of success for years now, Bynum, on the other hand has only scratched his surface of potential.
If you look at this season’s statistics, Howard’s point and rebound averages are slightly higher, almost unnoticeably higher. The only glaring statistical difference is Howard’s dismal 49.1 percent from the line compared to Bynum’s 69 percent. When considering the amount of touches and the amount of times each player goes to the line those precious points can decide the outcome of a game and with playoff time right around the corner those games become more dauntingly crucial. Bynum, not Howard, is the best big man in the league, just ask Shaquille O’Neal. So the real question is not who is the best big man, it’s why put up with their socially inappropriate tendencies, to put it mildly?
Amidst all the drama, why do the Lakers deal with Bynum’s shenanigans? You know, the three-point shot and then laughing after being benched over it, unwarranted technicals, and immaturity glistening through the media. All these point to reasons the Lakers should have shipped him off elsewhere.
And seriously, I mean, who the F is Stan Van Gundy? Who really cares if a player runs a coach out of town? Derrick Cousins did it to Paul Westphal in Sac-Town.
You would have to be crazy to let these pieces go considering how much they add to the team. Everything is a business, players bring wins and wins bring business. Likewise, players bring drama and drama brings business.
Dealing them brings much bigger risk than dealing with them.