The Demise of the ‘Big Man’ in the NBA

This past season he’s shown great maturity by doing the dirty work around the rim (defending the paint and grabbing rebounds) and not complaining about getting more touches. He’s worked on developing his game around the basket, and once he becomes more disciplined on offense (he turns into a black hole when he doesn’t get enough touches), he could easily be the second best center in the league.

June 17, 2010 - Los Angeles, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES - epa02208259 Los Angeles Lakers' Andrew Bynum (R) and Boston Celtics' Rasheed Wallace (L) at tip-off during the first half of game seven of the NBA Finals at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, USA, 17 June 2010.

Most of the dominant NBA teams in the past have relied on an inside-outside combo, but the landscape of the NBA is changing. Nobody wants to play the slow-down grind-it-out feed-the-big-man style which has worked so well for so many teams in the past. The Lakers are lucky they had Shaq, and they’re even luckier now that they have Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum.

If the Lakers want to continue to be dominant as their current core of players reach their twilight years (Lamar Odom, Ron Artest, and Pau Gasol are all 30, and Kobe Bryant turns 32 next week), they will need Andrew Bynum to continue to improve. Bynum needs to relish his role as the big man, and he must realize that he’ll get more and more touches in the upcoming years as the rest of the team ages.

The success of the Lakers franchise has always depended on the production of their great centers. Bynum is about to enter the prime of his career, and if he works on his post game he could be remembered as one of the great centers in Lakers history. More importantly, he can continue the tradition of big men dominating the NBA and lead the Lakers to many more championships.

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