Last week it was determined that former Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom and current Los Angeles Clippers guard Chauncey Billups were eliminated from contention to make the final 12-man roster for Team USA. Billups was taken out of the running after suffering a season-ending Achilles injury and Odom was knocked out of consideration once being deactivated by the Dallas Mavericks recently.
With two players off the current 20-man roster, Team USA Coach Mike Krzyzewski had 18 players left to cut down to just 12 once the NBA season is over. That recently has changed to just 17 players after learning of Dwight Howard’s season-ending back surgery.
This could be a huge dilemma for Coach K and company as it significantly weakens the frontcourt for Team USA. With only Tyson Chandler being a true center left on the current roster, it would be wise for the coaching staff to add another piece like Andrew Bynum of the Lakers.
There is no question at this point in his NBA career that Chandler is one of the best defensive-minded big men in the league. With the New York Knicks center more willing to take a backseat to players like Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire in the Big Apple, Chandler would be the perfect addition to Team USA in terms of filling role and being a defensive force in the paint.
With that being said, it is a forgone conclusion that Chandler will make the final 12-man roster for Coach K. Despite that being the case, it would be intriguing to see Bynum get a shot at winning a gold medal alongside teammate Kobe Bryant. The real question is whether or not the All-Star would be a better choice than Chandler.
In terms of a numbers comparison, Bynum blows Chandler out of the water in points with 18.9 per game this season compared to 11.4. The rebounding department slightly gives the edge to Bynum with 12.1 to Chandler’s 10 per game. As for blocked shots, Bynum also takes the cake with 1.9 and Chandler’s 1.4 shots blocked a contest.
The real disparity in numbers between these two centers is in field percentage. Chandler currently leads the league with an impressive 69% percentage from the field this season while Bynum is shooting 13% percentage worse at 56. Even with that disparity, there is no question that the Lakers All-Star is a much better all-around player and might benefit Team USA that much more with the recent loss of Howard.
Whether or not Andrew Bynum gets the call and actually accepts an invitation from Team USA remains to be seen, but it definitely must intrigue Coach K and his coaching staff to potentially reach out to the up-and-coming center with Howard no longer a candidate for the final 12-man roster.