Lakers midseason report card: Andrew Bynum showing growth
This is the third in a series of posts awarding midseason grades to some members of the Lakers.
Player: Andrew Bynum
How he performed: Averaging 16.3 points per game on 55.4% shooting, plus 12.8 rebounds and two blocks
Good: Let's say it all together. Bynum is finally healthy. There's still 33 more games to go, but so far, so good. The only setback came in the Lakers' 100-85 loss Thursday to the Oklahoma City Thunder, where he showed some slight discomfort. The procedure he's receiving today involves preventive care and was already scheduled so it's likely this shouldn't be anything serious. Secondly, Bynum earned his first All-Star appearance for showing what the Lakers envisioned he had all along. He's shown more aggressiveness in establishing post position, even when Bynum doesn't get looks. Bynum's footwork and awareness in passing and re-posting out of double teams has progressively improved. On nights where he shoots poorly or lacks touches, Bynum still maintains a strong effort on defense and on the glass.
Bad: Responding to double-team coverage still remains an ongoing issue. During games in which he lacks touches, Bynum will delay passing out of double teams instead of ensuring crisp ball movement. On pick-and-roll defense, Bynum also either shows too early or responds too late on covering the lane. He needs to strike a balance between being both. Bynum will improve those two elements, however, with more time.
There's no reason to think Bynum can't maintain his prolific rate the rest the season. Assuming he stays healthy, of course.
-- Mark Medina
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Photo: Lakers center Andrew Bynum will make his first NBA All-Star appearance this weekend in Orlando. Credit: John Raoux / Associated Press / Jan. 20, 2012