Bynum's scoring is up but rebounds are the key
By Jason LewisSentinel Staff WriterLos Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum looks like he is having another coming out party. The problem is that every time he has arrived as one of the best centers in the league, an injury hits and he goes back to being a project player.
So far so good this year, as Bynum is averaging 20.8 points and 11.8 rebounds per game, while shooting 59.6% from the field. He is only one of two players in the league who is averaging over 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. The other player being Toronto Raptors Chris Bosh.
Bynum's points are really needed at this point with the hamstring injury to All-Star forward Pau Gasol, who has not played a game this season. But more than Bynum's points, his rebounding is greatly needed, and that is where his progress will be judged the most.
The Lakers have scorers, and when Gasol returns, their points per game will go up even more. Bynum's 20 points per game are nice, but that number will more than likely go down as the season progresses, especially with the return of Gasol. But he cannot allow his rebounds per game to go down, and he realizes that.
So far this season Bynum has only had one game with less than 10 rebounds. He only had three rebounds in a 118-110 victory against the Atlanta Hawks. Even though he scored 21 points and had a well-rounded offensive performance, after the game he acknowledged that he had to make better efforts rebounding the ball.
Rebounding is about effort, and Bynum has said that he is out there hustling. It has paid off for the big man, who is second in the league in rebounding.
But the Lakers are going to need more, and getting Gasol should help greatly. In a recent loss to the Houston Rockets, the Lakers were out rebounded by 22, and that is with Bynum pulling down 11.
The Lakers lost back-to-back games against the Denver Nuggets and the Rockets, where they did not look competitive at times. Gasol coming back will be the boost that they will need, but Bynum has to continue to play at a high level as well.
Bynum has really looked good so far this year. One reason is that he has been able to stay on the court. In past seasons he had major foul problems, putting him on the bench for long stretches during games. So far this season he has not fouled out, and he only has one game with five fouls.
Bynum's solid play will be a major factor in this team winning a second title.