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Andrew Bynum keeps fading

December 29, 2009 |  5:10 am

Bynum After last night's loss in Phoenix, the Lakers have now played 19 games this season with both Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol in the lineup, and Bynum's numbers have steadily declined since Gasol's return.

Granted, with two seven-footers on the floor, the number of touches Bynum would get and his rebounding figured to dip--but it's been more dramatic than expected.

Consider that in Bynum's first nine games this season, all without Gasol, the young center averaged 20.3 points and 11.8 boards a game--clearly All-Star numbers--and he had eight double-doubles.

Since Gasol's return, Bynum is still looking for his first double-double and his output has dwindled to 12.4 points and 6.4 boards per game. This month Bynum has also suffered through games where he's scored 8, 4, 4 and 3 points. Phil Jackson pointed out that Bynum has been playing while ill for part of the month, but his rebounding has often been passive and in five games in December Bynum has failed to get at least five rebounds.

Last night, of course, the Lakers got pasted by the Suns and Amare Stoudemire showed why he's the leading vote getter among centers in the West as Stoudemire had 26 points and six rebounds.

At this point, the most deserving center in the West to get picked as a backup for the All-Star game might be Bynum's neighbor at Staples Center, Chris Kaman. The Clippers center is having a career season and has made a simple change to try and get his shot off quicker before he has to put the ball on the floor.

Kaman's stats so far this season easily top Bynum's:

Kamam 20.0 points, 9.1 rebounds.

Bynum 15.0 ppg, 8.1 rpg.

--Barry Stavro

Photo: Andrew Bynum fights the Thunder's Nenad Krstic for the ball last week. Photo credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times.