Anything has been possible in this lockout shortened NBA season, Chris Paul was traded, Kevin Love has become a legitimate MVP candidate and Kobe Bryant in his 16th season is leading the league in minutes. The other night, after grabbing 30 rebounds something even crazier happened, Andrew Bynum became the league’s best center.
Yes, I just said that and there is no qualification to the statement. He’s not the best center this side of Dwight Howard, or simply the best center in the Western Conference. He’s the best center in the NBA.
Andrew Bynum grabs a round against the Houston Rockets
There’s a classic line in the movie Step Brothers were Will Ferrell and John C. Riley scream in unison “Did we just become best friends?” that was my reaction after Bynum grabbed 30 rebounds last week, “Did Andrew Bynum just become the NBA’s best center?”
Somewhere in between the Bynum for Howard Trade talk at the beginning of the season and last weeks claims that Howard tried to get Stan Van Gundy fired, Dwight Howard has become a shell of his former self. Howard has fallen into the category of players that would rather become a global icon than a champion. He has fallen into the category of players that would rather make friends and be liked than win a championship. He has fallen into the category of players who lack a “killer instinct”.
Andrew Bynum on the other hand has been nothing but “killer instinct”. Since returning from a three game suspension at the beginning of the season, Bynum has played with a huge chip on his shoulder. He has played angry and defiant all season. While I will admit that those attributes can sometime be a hindrance to Bynum on the court, I would much rather see that type of passion out of a player than Howard’s goofy and self centered attitude.
Bynum is playing like a man with something to prove. After spending the beginning part of the season in every trade rumor imaginable, he is ready to make the statement that Los Angeles would be crazy to get rid of him.
Many people with dissenting opinions will use stats to make the point that Howard has the all around better numbers. While Howard may have the better stats, can someone with such a delicate psyche be trusted to come through during tough pressure situations? Howard completely crumbled over free agency talks and almost lost his mind at the trade deadline. Do you really want him to take a pressure free throw at the end of a playoff game?
Bynum on the other hand has spent the last 7 years playing along side Kobe Bryant, the most obsessed and single minded player since Michael Jordan. It’s hard to think that Bynum hasn’t learned a thing or two from Bryant.
Howard can have the attention and limelight. He can have all of the commercials and endorsements. Bynum just wants the best center in the league mantle.