Case Closed: Dwight Howard Over Andrew Bynum

Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum is what he is. You can remove the “potential” tag from an all-star player that’s been in the league for 7 years.

The only things Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard have in common, are that they are all star big men that would have greatly benefited from college. They were drafted out of high school, which reflects in their immaturity and character.

Dwight Howard put the Orlando Magic on the map. They have been an elite team as of late, and “Superman: carried them to the finals. Howard is a legitimate superstar. He is dominant in the post, superior on the glass (ead the league again), and his defensive presence is second to none. Hence three Defensive Player of the Year awards.

Bynum is outspoken with a lackadaisical attitude, if you can call it that. All along, I’ve been calling his bluff. Fans in the City of Angels have blindly supported the misguided decisions from the front office. Passing up on an older Jason Kidd was smart. Choosing to hold onto Bynum instead of acquiring Carmelo Anthony was ridiculous. Could you imagine the damage Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony would do? Two of the best finishers on one team, now that would have been the Lake Show.

Fortunately, it’s not too late to ship the big man that acts like a kid, simply because of the Dwight Howard fiasco in Orlando. Ultimately, he ran two coaches out of town: Brian Hill, and now Stan Van Gundy. The reason I like Van Gundy, he doesn’t coddle younger players. He demands respect and like the great teams, you have to play all out in practice and in games while trusting the staff. Anyways, Magic general manager Otis Smith stuck by his coach, and walked away. Smith helped rebuild the Magic team that has contended for the championship the past few years. It’s rare, but good to see loyalty in the business of sports.

Not to diminish Bynum for what he can do, but people get carried away and are too quick to crown someone. Bynum has done nothing to be the best center in basketball. No, he’s not the most talented on offense either, that was wishful thinking by people in retaliation of Howard’s media persona. In reality, Bynum doesn’t have game impact. He can flash great statistics, and any good player has their moments, but no one fears driving in the lane against the Lakers even though they have two 7-footers. Opposing Howard on the other hand, he changes gameplans and detours you from going inside, and still gets blocks. He even worked with the great Hakeem Olajuwon. If you don’t remember Olajuwon, the Hall of Famer might be the best center of all time. Howard has more moves than I’ve ever seen  Bynum attempt. Perhaps playing for L.A. has something to do with  the hype!

There’s a reason Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant wanted to trade this guy for proven superstars. Those are two people you would be crazy to bet against. I loved Kobe’s post-game comments, after OKC eliminated them in a disappointing 5 games. The front office is trying to make Bynum the man, he’s been given a chance, attitude hurts the team, and remember Bryant shared the spotlight with Shaq because the big fella was dominant, worthy, and proved it night in and night out. Unfortunately, people tend to remember the end of someone’s career, when their body has wear and tear and age catches up with them. So I’ll take this moment to shout out the great Chargers’ running back LaDanian Tomlinson. But yes, the team deferred to the Black Mamba and don’t get me started with the Mike Brown hiring. That guy did nothing to walk in the shoes vacated by Phil Jackson, and the front office got rid of Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher for basically nothing. There’s a quote from one of my favorite movies Remember the Titans, “Attitude reflects leadership.”

Look, I like Bynum’s game. I think he can do so much more and be so much better. Last postseason, when the Lakers got swept by the eventual champion Mavericks, I was over him. He is what he is and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. His career stats are: 11.8 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, and shoots 56%. His issue, he holds the ball too long down low, dribbled too much, and shoots 5-19 or 9-23 on high percentage attempts. This season he started for the Western Conference in the All Star Game, averaging 18.7 points, 11..8 rebounds, and 1.9 blocks per game. Where was he in the playoffs? Bring up the rings he won and I’ll tell you to go back and watch the games. He sat on the bench, kind of like he did in multiple 4th quarters this year.

While we’re at it, Dwight Howard has career averages of: 18.4 points, 13 rebounds, 2.2 blocks, and 57% shooting. Give Bynum credit, he makes 69% from the free throw line in comparison to Howard’s 49%.

I’m not condoning their actions off the court, but it’s obvious that these two are on different level, and I predict two other centers to enter the top 3 in a couple years: Greg Monroe from Detroit, and DeMarcus Cousins out in Sacramento.