Best Big Man … Where’s Bynum?

HANG TIME PLAYOFF HEADQUARTERS — Is anyone else still waiting for the recently crowned (at least by some) “best big man” in basketball to show himself in the Thunder-Lakers Western Conference semifinals?

We’ve yet to see the dominant force that Andrew Bynum was billed to be heading into this postseason. You remember the arguments for him overtaking Dwight Howard as the most dominant low-post force in the league. All of that bluster has faded with each minute of decent-but-far-from-dominant outing from the largest man still working in these playoffs.

No one is denying that Bynum has the potential to be whatever it is he wants to be. The talent, skill and behemoth size package remain in place. But this notion that Bynum was going to use this postseason to cement his place atop the totem pole of the league’s best big men has turned out to be little more than an urban myth.

He’s not even the big man having the biggest impact in this Thunder-Lakers series. That honor belongs to Thunder power forward and the league’s shot blocking king Serge Ibaka. In fact, Bynum doesn’t even rank in the top four of big men in this postseason, not with Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett dominating like it’s 1999 and Pacers All-Star center Roy Hibbert making life miserable for the Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

The Bynum defenders will argue that his numbers in two games against the Thunder (20 points, 11.5 rebounds and 1.5 blocks) indicate a much more dominant performer than we’re giving him credit for being. But this would be a clear case of the numbers lying about his true impact on this series.

He hasn’t had any consistent stretch of dominance in the first two games that lasted longer than three consecutive possessions. If the Lakers have designs on winning Game 3 tonight at Staples Center (10:30 ET, ESPN), that needs to change.

The stage is set for Bynum to assert himself in this series. Kendrick Perkins is playing with a sore hip. If ever there was a time to go on the attack, it’s now for Bynum and the Lakers, who must decide if playing through their twin towers (Pau Gasol is the other one — when he shows up).

They did it in that Game 7 win over Denver, clearly a much different opponent that the Thunder. But the blueprint for what needs to be done is there.

We’ll see tonight if Bynum has what it takes to be the big man so many claim him to be …


  1. charles says:

    I guess I realized performing during the regular season doesn’t make you the best big man in the league – performing in the playoffs does.

  2. Erik says:

    Bynum is still quite the presence in the paint no matter what!

  3. What about kobe says:

    This is kobes team… Why doesnt anybody blame kobe for the way the lakers play…. He’s their leader. Again…. If the lakers win, kobe is the best… If the lakers lose, bynum and gasol is to blame.

  4. Tygger2K6 says:

    I feel for the Lakers. They DONT have the league’s best big man. They DONT have the Kobe they always loved. They DONT have the LUCK MWP had (being at the right place at the right time). And they DONT have a chance with Pau anymore.

  5. LakersRus says:

    Say what you want about Bynum he’s still the best pure center in the game! He doesn’t always stay consistent, but very few players in the NBA do! Opposing teams know he can hurt them so they focus on him with double teams, and so forth! They do the same with Kobe, but he is best player I’ve ever seen at hitting tough shots! Opposing teams respect Bynum, and they show it by defending him tight! The Lakers, especially Bynum, have to find the open man when that happens! He’s not as good as Dwight Howard but he is close! Just look at the numbers! Just not as athletic as Howard attacking the rim!

  6. supplanter33 says:

    I guess the Lakers needs to play dirty in order to have a chance in this series. Haha! Artest needs to do his Elbow Smash, Bynum Clothesline and Barnes Body Block or Kobes Block right in the face!

  7. Rulo says:

    I’m a Spurs fan, so I don’t really care, but Bynum should be a complete dominant force!,… least that’s what a lot of comments about him have been circulating around, but in my opinion He is immature for his age or He cannot handle pressure very well, plus I started to dislike him when from nowhere or frustration hit rivals players in the air because He was unable to stop them, that right there shows no self control and not a good prospect for Los Angeles Lakers. Other thing, I don’t think after 6 years as a professional, Bynum can improve much more, anyway what he has is good enough. Other issue with him is if He can stay healthy for a long period of time. The average life span in big men are not that long compared with a guard, or shooting guard, because their size and weight. The last issue is I thing he can not create for now his own shots, in order to be effective… is a long run in order to be great!….Nonetheless He is Good enough! I’m trying to be fair……the problem with the L. Lakers is not personal talent is playing as a good team!

  8. KB24:) says:

    Bynum needs to step up his game.

  9. fattycus says:

    What do you expect from a guy who has been fed with a silver spoon his whole life? He has never had to work a day in his life and got by as an athlete by virtue of having been born huge. He is lazy and has no work-ethic. Good luck trying to get him to work any harder.

    Lakers won’t get out of this series and if you think they will, you are delusional.

  10. fan says:

    Sekou, come on man. Game 1 v Nuggets. 10 blocks??

  11. Robert says:

    The author of this article clearly has not been watching Bynum this post season. To say that Bynum has “yet” to show any signs of dominance is completely ridiculous. Games 1 and 7 against the DOMINANT games, recording a triple-double in Game 1 and a MONSTER double-double in Game 7. In between those games were bad-to-decent games. Numbers DON’T lie! In limited opportunities, Bynum is averaging 20 and 11 against the Thunder. All he can do is post up and demand the ball, whether he gets it or not is up to his teammates. But when he has gotten the ball, he has been DOMINANT. His defense could step up though, I’ll agree with the author on that.

  12. ray says:

    it’s because all of the guys you mentioned against bynum are playing with good spacing team. They don’t have another 7footer gasol who crowds the floor that makes it harder for bynum to operate

  13. john says:

    if the thunder still wins tonight, the season is done for the lakers..

  14. He’s to inconsistent, but when he is the first option and on his game the lakers are a tuff team to beat, this is his frist year in the last couple that hes been healthy all year, next year i excpect him to be even better.

  15. Bale says:

    ..Go Lakers, you can do it……Kobe is the number 1 for all times…..Regards from Macedonia…..

  16. danstanly says:

    I don’t the lakers will make to the next round but this series could end in 6 or 7 games. Anyway OKC has been lucky with these tight games with Mavs and Lakers… don’t think they will win the conference finals.

  17. arkijhules23 says:

    Size doesnt matter anymore in this series…Its all about heart..!!

  18. OKC2012 says:

    @MANUEL 24 ……. lol a lot of ppl that post don’t know much but many many do… you are not one of them, the Lakers did not shut anybody down in Game 2, they got shut down, this is why the series is 2-0 for OKC. A split second can change a game, the Lakers shut themselves down with poor decision making skills, why is anybody really chucking up 3’s when you have the lead with a couple mins to go, should be taking their time in the post. But they can’t do that either because your bigs cannot deal with what OKC is dishing out.

    Bynum has not proven anything in general, and really has not proven anything when games actually matter. Te only reason he gets so much hype is because he plays for the Lakers, same reason why Lin got so much hype playing for the Knicks. But sadly, as you can see by the grey hair growing out of his fro, Bynum cannot deal with the stress and expectations put upon him, which will lead him to never being the elite player you Lakers fans want him to be. Should’ve traded him when his stock was high, goodluck of getting rid of his headcase antics now!

  19. kobe says:

    howard gasol hibbert bynum…bynum is immature and doesnt bring it every night..he is lazy never husltes down the court and when he gets mad sits on the end of the bench and pouts..he does have talent ..the question is can he deliver night in and night out

  20. marlon green says:

    Bynum needs to make sure he is in his range when he tries those turn around hook shots or whatever it is. (push hook shots) When he’s too far from the basket it looks like he is just pushing the ball to the rim! Gasol and Bynum need to step up on D and contest every layup or shot down there. Durant went baseline and had no other choice but to put up a floater over Gasol. With the out of bounds line as an advantage he should have expected a shot from durant (3 TIME SCORING CHAMP BY THE WAY) and blocked it before he got the ball up. And Kobe needs to stop being 1 dimensional and start taking the ball to the rim so he can draw Ibaka from the paint and then dish it off to Gasol or Bynum. Those turn around and face up jumpshots are tough shots because they are always contested. But since he is so talented he makes them. I think his fg% would be much better if he took less shots like that.

  21. spelkey55 says:

    It has been said 10% of any game is physical and 90% is mental. That does give Bynum much of a chance for superstar status now does it?

  22. Cuppa Joe says:

    where was he when Blake missed the final 3, there was still seconds left in the game. a possible rebound and jam.

  23. Da Baws says:

    This article is not very accurate at all… If you want Bynum to dominate talk to Mr Bryant and get him to give him the ball… anyone who has played any basketball as a big knows the frustration Bynum has right now… you hustle up the court get good post position all to have Bryant take some horrible shot…. then hustle back on D… Im not saying Bynum has to shoot the ball every time he gets it… but a LA field goal in the half court should not be shot until one of the bigs has touched the ball.. (unless it was wide open) Bryant lost game 2 all on his own and if the Lakers are going to have any chance of winning this series they will have to play through their bigs

    • Sweet says:

      Well put Da Baws! In other words…GIVE THE BIGS THE BALL, KOBE! And Bynum, just PUMP FAKE when you see Ibaka coming!

  24. John From OKC says:

    I may have said this before at this website, but I’m not sure. I am sure I’ve said it at others and am not going to back off it soon. One of, but not THE, best things about this series is that Ibaka and James Harden are starting to get some overdue credit from the national media. The Thunder are a deeper team than most non-Oklahomans realize.

  25. HDK says:

    I just think Bynum has the talent to be great, but hasn’t got the will to be real great. He doesn’t always seem to care enough.

  26. Albert says:

    It is safe to say that Bynum can be one of the dominant center these days. But he still need to improve his mental game and his skill also. The Thunder have larger chance to win this series due to the athleticism and youth from their player and the Lakers is a bit old for this. but it won’t be east the series will end. The Lakers surely will left some payback

  27. Jason says:

    are we still talking about the immature bynum who said “closeout games are easy”. he’s never going to be the dominant force people expect him to be.

  28. Manuel 24 says:

    Why is everyone talking like they know basketball…Just watch the game and watch the Lakers win tonight…Kobe Bryant hands down man down….If the Lakers shut down OKC in the second game they will do it again and it all depends on how bad the Lakers want to move on to the next round.

  29. Patrickmarc says:

    “That honor belongs…. to the king Ibaka.

    No doubt, in my opinion he is the greatest.

  30. mr-plow says:

    If the Faker fans believe (after these 1st 2 games vs okc) they can win 4 out of the next 5 games (inc. a back-to-back)
    they are indeed as dumb as they look. If they do win,good luck with the spurs then the celtics.

    • dummi says:

      u do realise that the celtics will have a hard time beating philly
      and after lebrons raping .. they’ll be east champs .. right? as dumb as u look

  31. eddie says:

    anything is possible , but being down 2-0 is hard , very hard , especially coming off the close loss

  32. Tony says:

    Bynum is afraid to put up the shot when Ibaka is present because …you know what happen!!! Iblocka….

    • OKCKD35 says:

      the serge protector is dominating

      • never frisco says:

        All you need to do to take Ibaka out of his shot blocking comfort zone is pump fake every shot where he’s in the general vacinity. He jumps out of the gym every time a Laker puts up a shot, and when Bynum pump faked him in the second half of game 2, Ibaka ended up almost landing on Bynum and pulled him to the floor. Bynum didn’t make the basket, but did hit both free throws, and pasted another PF on Ibaka, which is the best way to land him on the Thunder bench for extended periods of time. He falls for the pump fake every time.
        The real problem is Kobe, who still thinks he’s the same Kobe of a few years ago- he’s not, and he needs to change his game to accommodate the two bigs or we don’t stand a chance in this series. Hi only two TO’s in game 2 came in the final two minutes and essentially cost us our 7 point lead and ultimately, the game… and maybe the series. That was our best shot to steal one in OKC.

  33. anthony24! says:


  34. prix says:

    even Mac Gasol would do better job in LaLa land

  35. ZULU says:

    Everybody appears ready to send the Lakers to the fishing banks. I don’t know if the Laker woes against the Thunder can be pinned on one individual. Of course it ain’t over ’til it’s over.