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Andrew Bynum has potential to make All-Star team

December 30, 2011 |  8:05 pm

Among Andrew Bynum's most pressing concerns, wondering if he can make the 2012 NBA All-Star team isn't one of them.

Right now, he's concerned about how his conditioning will hold up when he makes his 2011-12 debut Saturday against the Denver Nuggets. Bynum's curious to what degree training camp and two preseason game appearances makes him fully comfortable with Mike Brown's offensive and defensive system. He's hopeful the vision he shares with the front office that he'll have a larger offensive role this season will actually pan out. And Bynum also wonders something we all have pondered for far too long: can he stay healthy? 

Regardless, all of the aforementioned variables will play a large part on whether Bynum fulfills his dream in finally landing a spot on this season's All-Star team. Lakers Coach Mike Brown believes it can happen

"From the outside looking in," Brown said, "you see him getting better every year and you think he would get to a point where he is that."

That's because Brown couldn't think of immediate contenders, until a few reporters mentioned Denver's Nene and Memphis' Marc Gasol. Pau's brother would likely land the starting spot. But Nene has remained inconsistent. Meanwhile, Yao Ming's retirement makes it impossible for him to crack the roster even if the Chinese fans still vote him in anyway. Spurs forward Tim Duncan has faced heavy decline in his game. Utah's Al Jefferson may suffer from playing with a weak team. And the Clippers' DeAndre Jordan has promising talent, but most of it remains untapped. 

It also points to Brown's confidence about Bynum's game itself.

"I think he can be a double-double guy," Brown said.

He remained unsure whether that would mean Bynum would average 10 points and 10 rebounds or 20 points and 10 rebounds. Regardless, Bynum offers plenty of signs it will happen, of course, if he stays healthy. 

Bynum may have only averaged 11.3 points and 9.4 rebounds last season, but be sure to equate the first 24 games he missed while recovering from offseason surgery. After the All-Star break, Bynum's per-game averages of 12.3 rebounds trailed only Dwight Howard's 14.7 and his 2.36 blocks trailed Howard's three and JaVale McGee's 2.57. Bynum said at training camp he hopes to finish in the Top-5 in rebounding, prompting Brown to say, "that's a terrific goal."

Bynum averaged 20.5 points, 11.5 rebounds and two blocks in 32 minutes per game in the Lakers' two preseason losses to the Clippers, showing there's already plenty of credence he'll have a larger role in the Lakers' offense. Mix in his agility work this offseason, and it appears Bynum's on the right path.

But first things first. Bynum must successfully match up with Nene, minimize any transition into the lineup, and, of course, stay healthy. 

"I want get out there and dominate on the low block," Bynum said. "That's what I'm here for. I want to get out and I want to play." 


Mike Brown expects to play Andrew Bynum 34 minutes against Denver

Lakers shouldn't pin Andrew Bynum as their franchise player

Andrew Bynum will be there for one more game, Lakers: Merry Christmas

--Mark Medina

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