HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — He’s not the Los Angeles Lakers’ biggest personality and far from its biggest star, but no player on the Lakers’ roster is on display more these days than their biggest player (height-wise).
It’s Andrew Bynum Day every day until the Feb. 24 trade deadline passes.
Bynum’s spent the past week in the trade rumor crosshairs — having your name linked to Carmelo Anthony‘s these days can change everything — and will stay there until the trade deadline passes and he’s still wearing purple and gold.
Last night’s effort against the Celtics showed once again why the Lakers value Bynum’s talent, length and youth. Even with all of his injury problems, Bynum’s presence in the paint is as obvious to the eye as it is crucial to the Lakers’ threepeat hopes. It remains to be seen whether or not that is enough to keep him in a Lakers uniform for the next five years or so.
There’s a legitimate infatuation/fear tug of war in Los Angeles where Bynum is concerned, captured best in the last line of Bill Plaschke’s column from last night’s game in the Los Angeles Times:
OK, here’s the deal on Bynum. If every night were Thursday night, he would be an untouchable. But it’s been six years and we’re still waiting for at least a month of those Thursday nights. The Lakers are obviously going to hitch their championship hopes for the next several years to his aching knees. Here’s hoping I’m wrong.
His 16 points, nine rebounds and one block against the Celtics must be qualified. There was no Shaquille O’Neal to deal with. But ask Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Ron Artest if their jobs are a bit easier when Bynum is playing with the bounce he did last night.
We guarantee you there will be nods of approval across the board.
BIG SHOT AFFLALO?
With all of the big-time shot makers the Nuggets have on their roster, it was shocking to see Aaron Afflalo play the role of hero against the Mavericks last night.
They took down a sizzling-hot Mavericks team behind Anthony’s big night and a wicked start from Chauncey Billups, who smoked the Mavs for 18 points in the first quarter. But showing the sort of trust you’d expect from a veteran floor leader, Billups found the right man with the game on the line.
“Chauncey did a great job of being patient,” Afflalo said. “When he figured he wasn’t going to get enough space to get a clean shot off I was just ready. That was all I had in my mind, get a clean look.”
It’s strange. Every time we catch the Nuggets on the big stage, they look like the sort of team a star like Anthony would relish playing on, which makes all of these trade rumors even more perplexing. The Nuggets have already offered that three-year, $65 million extension and Anthony knows this team can be a contender when everything is clicking …
“My body feels good. I just feel good, mentally, spiritually, emotionally, I just feel good. My legs, I got my legs back,” Anthony told reporters after the game. “As far as me and my feeling for the game, I feel great right now.”