5. Andrew Bynum
The Lakers have had several great young players out of high school. Yes, there’s Kobe Bryant, but not many people expected young Andrew Bynum to be so effective, so early. The Lakers shocked many people when they selected a teenager with the 10th pick in the 2005 NBA Draft.
General Manager Mitch Kupchak saw something special in the high school phenom out of St. Joseph High School, in New Jersey. The team had some big plans for Bynum, as they were trying to develop him into one of the most dominant centers in the league. Kareem Abdul Jabbar (who may later be mentioned in this article) was hired to work with Bynum and help develop the young man’s skills.
However, Bynum did not have stellar rookie season, as he only averaged 1.6 points per game and 1.7 rebounds per game. Bynum did however fight with Shaq—sort of. He and O’Neal had a small altercation during a game; Shaq dunked on Bynum, knocking him to the floor. The Lakers fans were hiding their faces, while Heat fans were looking up at the screen for a replay. And on the very next play, Bynum pulled a spin move on Shaq, dunked the ball and got some revenge. The whole incident ended with double technical fouls, but fans got to see Bynum’s determination.
As the years went on, Bynum greatly improved, and by his second year he averaged 13.1 ppg and 10.2 rpg. Bynum got a front court partner in Pau Gasol that season, and he also played in his first Finals that season too. The Lakers may have lost the series, but Bynum gained valuable experience. To this day Andrew Bynum is improving his game, and if he stays away from injuries, he can be very dominating. Bynum is looking to win his third straight title this season, and has a bright future ahead of him.
Next: Wilt Chamberlain