Five things that ensure Andrew Bynum a successful 2011-12 season
1. Stay healthy.Duh. Injuries have shadowed Andrew Bynum's career. Even if Bynum made it through all of last season without suffering a major injury, he has yet to play a full season free of rehab. But he showed a glimpse after the All-Star break of his promising potential. He and the training staff must work to keep him free of injury. Wearing the knee brace and remaining close to the basket will help.
2. Accept offensive role. Bynum's eager to have a larger offensive role, but that growth will have to happen in increments. Kobe Bryant isn't going to give up his scoring role and, when assuming he'll return to normal, Pau Gasol has proved more efficient with the ball. Bynum will have to get his points by rebounding and establishing better post position.
3. Improve maturity. It's a sign that Bynum's seeking to take a more leadership role by being brutally honest, such as revealing the team had "trust issues" during the playoffs. But this veteran-laden roster doesn't really respect Bynum as a leader. Some other issues, such as committing dirty fouls and parking in handicap spots, show the 23-year-old still feels entitled.
4. Embrace defensive role. Bynum grew as a player because of his willingness to take ownership of the team's defensive scheme that featured him staying close to the basket. Because Mike Brown's defensive system plans to be similar, there's no reason Bynum should change his approach. That proved instrumental in the team's 17-1 run following the All-Star break.
5. Add more post moves. Besides getting baskets on close tip-ins or through sheer power, Bynum doesn't really have many tools that give him open shots. Based on his boxing lessons and revelation during his exit interview that he wants to add more to his game, it's likely Bynum has been working out. It'll be interesting to see how that translates onto the court.
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Photo credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times / May 4, 2011