2. 42 points, 15 rebounds vs. the Clippers (1/21/09)
The shame in Bynum’s second knee injury was that he was undoubtedly playing the best basketball of his career at the time. It was even more impressive if you can remember how concerned people were with how, or even if, he could bounce back from the first injury. In the 16 games he played in January, Bynum averaged 17 points and 8 rebounds a game, highlighted by a 42-point, 15-rebound game against the Clippers when he was 21-years-old. ESPN’s resident Laker hater, Bill Simmons had the misfortune of turning in an ESPN The Magazine column, in which he called Bynum vastly overrated. Unfortunately for him, the issue came out the same day that Bynum was named Western Conference Player of the Week. Simmons and I had the following exchange during one of his chats :
Me: Did you write your mag column before Andrew Bynum was named Western Conference Player of the Week and dropped 42 on Los Clippers? Have your thoughts changed on his ceiling or his contract extension?
Simmons: It’s funny you should ask. They changed my magazine deadline (which sucks for me from a “timing” standpoint) – THAT NIGHT, I went to Clips-Lakers and Bynum out up a 42-15 (on Skinner and Jordan, but still). Then he looked great against Duncan on Sunday. I’d say Bynum is now properly rated. I was really impressed by him in person.
For me, there was no question what Andrew Bynum’s most memorable moment as a Laker will forever be:
Next Page: The Shaq Incident