Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum has become one of the most important big men in the NBA today, and if he stays healthy should be right up there with Dwight Howard in holding down the fort for the dying centers of the league. Lakers coach Phil Jackson knew that he would progress, but he also knew there would be struggles based on the way the organization wanted to develop Bynum as opposed to his own natural development.
After the jump, see what Jackson had to say about the struggle of the Lakers this season despite the emergence of Bynum.
‘Jim saw Andrew as a kid and thought Bynum was going to be a great pick for our team. But in the process he’s wanted to have Andrew to have a bigger and bigger role, and I think he’s hired his coach to have Andrew have a bigger and bigger role. And that kind of disjointed the symmetry of what the Lakers were really about. Andrew is an All-Star Center, he did a wonderful job. But what happened was it took Pau out of his game and it took the team away from some of their game. They changed the style dramatically.’
Bynum had the potential to develop into an All-Star center when Jackson was the Lakers head coach. Jackson seemed to defer from that strategy, instead relying heavily on Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom down the stretch of games, and rightfully so. Bynum was still injury-prone and struggled to establish himself in the post during those title runs; Gasol and Odom sometimes struggled defensively, but eventually overcame that with their offensive skill. With Bynum's emergence, his need for more playing time became significantly important.
There's no doubt there were issues this season. How much of the onus was on Bynum though?
Talk about Bynum, Jackson and Buss with Lakers fans over at Silver Screen and Roll.
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