When the Lakers took Bynum as the 10th overall pick in the 2005 NBA draft, they were taking on a player whose risk they felt was insignificant compared to his rewarding potential. At the time, Phil Jackson would be coming back from his second retirement stint, Kobe Bryant was at his prime and the mentality was to make the Lakers contenders now, not later.
In all likelihood, Bynum could have well been a bust. They had seen him work out a couple of times before they drafted him that year in June. Once at the McDonald’s All-American Game three months before the draft and the second at a pre-draft work out in Chicago. When they first saw him, his potential was hiding behind 40 pounds of excess body fat. The main reason they were prompted by a scout to give him a second look was because of the work he put in to get his body NBA ready, shedding 25 pounds. Still Bynum looked winded. It was difficult for him to jump in succession and he only had one or two offensive moves in the post–if that. It hardly mattered. After seeing him for the second time, Jim Buss’ mind was made up and Bynum was a go.
So maybe the Lakers didn’t foresee a need to acquire a true point guard. It wasn’t a need in Jackson’s triangle and how could they have ever anticipated the trend in the later part of the decade would be to acquire a play-maker instead of a play-stopper? All Buss and General Manager Mitch Kupchak could fall back on was the one distinction the Lakers always had in their championship lineup arsenal.
The big man.