Originally written on The Sports Post  |  Last updated 11/18/14
Player A: 18.7 PPG, 11.8 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.9 BPG, 55.8 FG%, 59.4 TS%, 22.9 PER, .183 WS/48, 100 DRtg, 23.8 Usage Rate, 13.3 FGA per game Player B: 23.4 PPG, 11.4 RPG, 2.9 APG, 3.4 BPG, 50.8 FG%, 55.4 TS%, 23.8 PER, .189 WS/48, 99 DRtg, 26.8 Usage Rate, 17.8 FGA per game Look, I know you’ve read the title to this column. You know Player A is Andrew Bynum in his age-24 season (his last as a Laker). Before I tell you who the other guy is, I want you to remember how close they are. Besides blocks (and to be fair, the guy I’m about to name is the greatest defender of the modern era) and assists, they’re virtually identical. Player B averaged more points, but remember, he had a higher usage rate, attempted more shots, and shot a lower field goal percentage. In rebounds and all-encompassing advanced metrics, the two are almost even. So, ready for the big reveal? Player B is Hakeem Olajuwon. That’s right, you didn’t realize how freaking good Andrew Bynum was until just now. Bynum’s age-24 season was pretty much as good as Hakeem’s. So, what’s the difference between the two? Well, there are two. First of all, Hakeem came into the league as a man, Bynum came into the league as a child. That’s not even metaphorical: he was literally 17 when he was drafted and hasn’t done much growing up since. He’s just as lazy and immature as he was back then. The bigger issue? I’ll use numbers for this one, too. Here are the pertinent numbers: 242 and 228. What’s 242? The total number of games Bynum has missed since his career began. 228? The total number of games Blake Griffin has played, period. Don’t believe me? Go look it up. A 25-year-old center who hasn’t even hit his prime yet has missed more games in his career than a three-time All-Star (who, for the record, is only 18 months his junior) has played in total. Bynum is the hardest property in the league to quantify; the best true center in a league starving for big men, someone who has shown off Hall of Fame potential while simultaneously engaging in purely Artest-ian antics (and yes, I could absolutely see a name change in his future), a constant health risk who might give you a decade of dominance or three disappointing years and an amnesty. Nobody has any freaking clue how much Bynum is worth, much less what he’ll actually get on the open market. Going forward, there are exactly two true centers in basketball capable of giving you 20 and 10 for a full season: Bynum and Dwight Howard. That’s the list. Gasol and Hibbert don’t score enough; Lopez can’t rebound. Kevin Love isn’t a center, and Zach Randolph is too old. Meanwhile, the entire theme of the playoffs we just watched was how the league is heading back towards size and real bigs. A healthy Andrew Bynum gives you a chance to contend if you have a decent GM. If you’re the 76ers, and you have a promising young core and the cap flexibility to find a decent replacement, Bynum probably isn’t worth the risk, especially considering all of the bad blood between him and the fans. But let’s say you’re the Bobcats. Your fans have nothing to get excited about. Your team is awful. If Bynum misses the next three years, nobody would even notice. Isn’t he worth the risk then? Hell yeah he is! Let’s say you sign Bynum and he works out. Suddenly you have a core of Bynum, the Lion King (aka Kemba Walker), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Cody Zeller, and a top-five pick in next year’s loaded draft. Can’t you contend with that if the rookies pan out? And suppose Bynum keeps getting hurt, the Bobcats keep sucking, and the whole thing turns out to be a disaster. Who really cares? Remember, this is their only real chance to bring in a star via free agency. Nobody else is considering Charlotte, and it’s not like they’re blowing up an ultra-talented core or trading an established All-Star to get him (sorry Philly fans). Signing Bynum is Charlotte’s ticket to relevance. He’d embrace being the man, leading his own team, and I have to believe Michael Jordan would be able to smack some sense into him. Fans would actually have a reason to go to games. For the first time since they were dumb enough to pass on Chris Paul (yes, this happened, they could’ve traded the Felton/May picks for him), the Bobcats would actually mean something on a league-wide scale. Of course, we know it’s not gonna happen. NBA free agency tends to be fairly boring in non-LeBron years. Realistically, he’s going to re-sign with Philly for a fairly insignificant sum, miss parts of two or three years, and then fade into obscurity. Just know that the Bobcats had a real shot to turn things around and are passing it up in favor of whatever plan Michael Jordan is pretending to have. Prediction: Philadelphia 76ers, three years, $30 million By: Sam Quinn Twitter: @Rhinos_Cry_Too
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Jon Jones thinks he can beat Cain Velasquez

Larry Bird jokes about pose of Dominique Wilkins’ statue

Barry Switzer urged Cowboys to draft Murray with great quote

SF Giants file brief in support of gay marriage to Supreme Court

Jay Cutler available to teams in trade

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Brian Hoyer praises Johnny Manziel for checking into rehab

Dockett: I would have signed with Cardinals for less money

Report: Darrelle Revis' decision to come down to Patriots, Jets

Maurice Jones-Drew announces his retirement from NFL

Ndamukong Suh is biggest prize, risk in free agency

Associated Press will have 'robots' writing game stories

Five areas the Eagles must address this offseason

WATCH: Craig Sager emotional in warm welcome back to TNT

Likeliest landing spots for Ndamukong Suh

Tigers pitcher Alfredo Simon drives a chrome Mercedes

WATCH: Ronda Rousey breaks guy's ribs who doubts her ability

Michelle Beadle’s campaign to be cast in ‘Sharknado 3′ pays off

Ten teams who have tightened the belt

Dodgers will have a tough time dumping Andre Ethier

Brian Cashman: Derek Jeter should be final Yankees captain

Tom Brady, Rory McIlroy to play round at Augusta National

No one knows who will win the 2014-15 NBA MVP

Giants TE on plane that slid off runway in New York

NBA News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Larry Bird trash talks Dominique Wilkins’ statue

Likeliest landing spots for Suh

Jay Cutler available to teams in trade

Ronda Rousey breaks guy's ribs

Ten teams who have tightened the belt

Mayweather waited for Pacquiao to get old, right?

Maurice Jones-Drew announces his retirement from NFL

Ndamukong Suh is biggest prize, risk in free agency

AP will have 'robots' writing game stories

Manning officially returning to Broncos

No one knows who will win the MVP

Pop rips notion of NBA Finals in July

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.