Andrew Bynum had a bit of a coming out party this past season, as he established himself as the second best center in the NBA. There were a lot of firsts for Bynum, including an All-Star appearance and being named to the all-NBA second team.
But, a lot of those accomplishments were few and far between the headaches that he caused. The list of issues Bynum went through is extensive, but what’s most frustrating for the Lakers is that many of them are simply his insistence on not giving a complete effort.
A recent article in the Denver Post focused on Bynum, and whether or not fans in Denver would be interested in having him on the Nuggets. All logistical issues aside, it’s interesting to see how fans feel about a certain player. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from sports it’s that most people are quick to forgive anybody once they put on their favorite team’s jersey. But the fans in Denver seem to have no interest in adding the disgruntled 24-year-old. And for the Lakers, that might be a very concerning issue.
The Denver Post article, which was written by Benjamin Hochman, is a revealing look into the minds of fans that despise the Lakers. After Los Angeles eliminated Denver in seven games in the first round of this year’s playoffs, there is some expected bad blood between those in Denver and the Lakers. But given the opportunity to add someone like Bynum, whose skill set is so vast and potential mostly untapped, the fans don’t want to deal with the headache that some of his off-court issues can cause.
Hochman posted several tweets from Denver fans, all of which were adamantly against adding Bynum to the Nuggets. And remember, it’s not like Denver is stocked with talented big men. This is a team that gave the Lakers trouble with JaVale McGee and Kenneth Faried in the paint. Hochman does make an interesting point, though, when discussing the Lakers’ previous two post-seasons.
Bynum did elevate his game in the regular season, no question. But with Bynum as a key player the past two postseasons, the Lakers have infamously fallen apart.
When a guy has a bad attitude and plays badly when it matters, it makes one wonder how things will change — let alone, when.
Now, I don’t think it’s fair to put the Lakers’ two post-season losses in 2011 and 12 on Bynum’s shoulders, but obviously he does carry some of the blame. He wasn’t the only player who struggled in the playoffs, but it was his lack of consistency that was concerning. Fans and coaches alike found themselves wondering which version of Bynum would show up on any given night. Would it be the center who blocked 10 shots in one game against the Nuggets, or the one who only blocked nine the entire series against the Thunder.
Obviously the Lakers aren’t going to let Bynum go for nothing, as he is still their biggest asset and the player with the most potential for the future. But seeing that other team’s fans are so vehemently against adding someone with so much talent purely because of his off-court tendencies is concerning.
One thing we do know is that the story of Andrew Bynum is far from written. He could have a great career in the NBA if he chooses to, or he could go down the path of talented players who never reached their potential. Only time will tell.