The 2 best centers in the NBA came out of high school. Let’s settle this “debate.”
– Face of the franchise
– Most dominate force in the paint
– 6-time All-Star
– 5-time All-NBA team selection
– 4-time All-Defensive Team
– 3-time Defensive Player of the Year
– 3 division titles
– 1 conference title and finals appearance)
– 2008 NBA Slam Dunk Contest Champion
– Started at center in the 2008 Olympics, and won a gold medal with Team USA
– He has 2 championship rings
– The most offensive talent at the center position
– 2007–08 season he suffered an injury on his left kneecap and eventually missed the rest of the season and all of the playoffs.
– Returned in 2008–09 with an All-Star worthy season but injured his right knee. He came back for the playoffs in a limited role as the Lakers won the championship
– 2010 post-season, Bynum played in every playoff game with a torn meniscus and strained Achilles tendon and the Lakers repeated as NBA champions.
Verdict: Dwight Howard and it’s not even close (yet)
Dwight Howard has the accolades and Andrew Bynum has the potential. It is disrespectful to compare the 2 players, and is a “prisoner of the moment” conversation (as Skip Bayless of ESPN would say).
Both players are playing at a high level, but Howard has done so longer. He is the best player and face of a franchise with a NBA Finals appearance. He is on his way to winning his 4th Defensive Player of the Year award. The impact Howard makes by just being on the floor is understated and overlooked. For example, the other night Orlando beat Miami by keeping LeBron James and Dwayne wade out of the lane. Instead of getting layups and close shots, they settled for outside shots throughout the game and in crunch time. Howard is the reasons 2 of the best players in the league couldn’t drive, and when you can’t drive you don’t draw fouls for free throws. The Heat live on the free throw line, but were held to 10-11 in a loss.
Bynum hasn’t even been the 2nd best player on his team. He has been the 3rd wheel behind Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. Since the All-Star break, he has surpassed Gasol to become the team’s 2nd option. He is excelling and looks to be fulfilling his potential, but it will take time. He has to stay healthy, and he has to continue to play at a high level. Last weekend against Boston, was in my opinion, Bynum’s best game in a Lakers uniform. He got off to a good start, overcame his struggles, and he received “Shaq” touches. He earned Kobe Bryan’ts trust in that game. Los Angeles called a timeout, and set up a play for Bynum to get the ball. Keep in mind, Bryant is one of the best players ever, so for him to defer a clutch play is a big deal in itself. Needless to say, Bynum came through with a basket and is playing his best basketball. That game in Boston, could spark the beginning for him.
At the earliest, if Bynum finishes this season and plays ALL of next season (including playoffs), then we can revisit the discussion and `we can debate.