Before the start of the regular season, the notion of Andrew Bynum being sidelined for a significant period of time was cause for concern for the defending champions. Bynum’s choice to forego surgery on his injured knee until a little over a month into the off-season was viewed as immature and unprofessional by pundits and fans alike.
A near perfect-so-far start to the regular season has the critics mum on the issue of Bynum, some even taking the stance that perhaps the Lakers are better without him. Others could argue that Lamar Odom should retain his spot in the starting lineup and have Bynum come off the bench.
Don’t let the 8-1 Lakers fool you. Bynum is still an integral part of the Lakers squad, a squad that is starting to show vulnerabilities in areas where Bynum’s size and skill can provide a quick remedy.
Lucky for the Lakers, per Phil Jackson, Bynum should be ready to take on basketball-related activities as early as the end of the week. A target date for his return to the starting lineup has been projected on or about the Thanksgiving holiday.
As great as the Lakers have been offensively and in some regard defensively, there’s no matching the Bynum-Pau Gasol front court. It’s the one-two punch that few teams can defend against and the lengthy-duo NBA front offices can only dream to emulate. Inserting Bynum into the starting unit gives the Lakers another big body whose size and shot-blocking ability disrupts the passing lanes, intimidates players against driving inside and can provide help defense. In addition to this, while not having the array of post-moves that Gasol has, Bynum still holds his own on offense and can produce during set-plays.