Andrew Bynum is 7 feet tall and supposed to be one of the NBA’s best centers.
Instead, he’s spent most of this season working back from knee injuries amidst reports that he’d rather be bowling (which complicated one of the knee injuries) or just not playing basketball at all. Still, Bynum has apparently found some room to throw stones when it comes to explaining why his career hasn’t been all it could be so far.
Bynum said Sunday that much of the reason he struggled to become a dominant center with the Los Angeles Lakers was because of his MVP teammate, Kobe Bryant.
“I thought it really helped me a lot obviously at first, because he draws so much attention. It’s hard for guys to double team and key on you, so it helped me tremendously,” Bynum said, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “Later, I felt like I was able to get the ball more and do more things with the ball, so I could definitely see how [Bryant's ball-dominant ways] could stunt growth.”
Bynum averaged 11.7 points 7.8 rebounds a game in seven seasons with the Lakers, with much of his time in Los Angeles filled with injuries. While he hasn’t been a bust, he isn’t in the realm of NBA greats, as some hoped he could be.
Bryant was asked about Bynum’s comments, and he essentially agreed, saying that players have to offset each other’s skills, and that he and Shaquille O’Neal experienced similar problems when they played together. He said Bynum’s game will take off when he’s the focus of the Sixers’ offense.
Bynum also had a warning for new Lakers center Dwight Howard, who got his wish to play for a contender but now has to learn how to work in an offense with Bryant.
“I think Dwight is a great player, but he’s going to have to get accustomed to playing with Kobe and not touching the ball every single play,” Bynum said.
The question remains of whether that’s a good or bad thing.