Andrew Bynum: The Oldest 22-Year-Old in the NBA

November 05, 2009

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Scott Shepherd

Andrew Bynum: The Oldest 22-Year-Old in the NBA

He fooled me yet again.

We’ve seen this act before. Andrew Bynum, through the first five games, is averaging over 20-10, yet again.


It’s nothing new. For the third straight season, the young, potential stud, center for the Los Angeles Lakers has hit the ground running and has shown flashes of being an all-star caliber center in the NBA.


And, for the third straight season, Bynum’s great start may be overshadowed by, yet another, major injury.


With 24.7 seconds left in the Lakers overtime win over the Rockets last night, Kobe Bryant dished a perfect pass to Bynum under the hoop and he was fouled as he tried to convert the lay-up. It wasn’t an obscenely hard foul, but certainly one in which the Rockets were making it clear they weren’t about to allow Bynum to score without heading to the free throw line.


After the play, Clyde Drexler, doing color commentary for the Rockets, mentioned that it looked like Bynum was hurt on the play. It was never mentioned again.


Bynum shot the free throws, the Lakers went on to win, and that was that.


Today in the Los Angeles Times, Mike Bresnahan is reporting that Bynum woke up today and couldn’t even move his arm. The Lakers say that he’ll be re-evaluated today, and haven’t given any further word on his condition.


I don’t want to pull out the Jump to Conclusions Mat just yet, but I’ll say this: it doesn’t look good.


If this were just about any other player in the league, I would hardly bat an eyelash at this report. Guys get banged up all the time, and sometimes it’s bad enough that they need to be re-evaluated the following day.


But this is Andrew Bynum. This is the oldest 22-year-old in the league. This is a guy that has had two major injuries in the past two seasons.


Maybe it is just a strain, and he’ll be back soon, or better yet, he won’t miss any time at all.


But when you have a track record like Bynum, it’s hard to give someone the benefit of the doubt.


Like I said: we’ve seen this before. Two years ago Bynum was looking like a potential all-star until he landed wrong on someone’s foot going for a rebound and blew out his knee.


Last season, he once again looked like an all-star until Kobe rolled him up and blew out his other knee.


This season, well, you know the story. Bynum looks like an all-star, posting 20 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game over the first five.


History tends to repeat itself. If the past two seasons have taught us anything, it’s to brace for the worst.


I want the news to come out later tonight that Andrew Bynum has a mild sprain and that he’s day-to-day. I want Bynum to play a full season as a starter and show the world what people in Los Angeles already know: this kid can play.


But I’ve been fooled by him too many times before. I’ve been fooled into thinking that he’s an all-star center with bad luck. That if it weren’t for a couple of freak plays, we’d be looking at Superman West.


I know better now. The truth about Andrew Bynum is that he’s not an all-star player, but an injury-prone big man. Injury prone big-men are a dime a dozen.


Maybe Bynum is better between injuries than most big men, but does that really matter? Would you rather have a 20-10 guy for 45 games a season or a 14-7 guy who plays every night come hell or high water?


What’s best for the Lakers, the NBA, and for Bynum himself is that this injury ends up being nothing, and he’s back on the floor before you know it.


What’s more likely is that it’s a separated shoulder and he’s done till 2010.


That’s just the way it goes for Andrew Bynum, the oldest 22-year-old in NBA history.

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