Advertisement
 
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsLakers

As a reminder to some, Andrew Bynum is a big reason for Lakers' success

T.J. SIMERS

Many people, including a certain Los Angeles Times columnist, wanted to trade the center for Carmelo Anthony. But Page 2 was aboard the Bynum wagon the whole time.

April 28, 2011|T.J. Simers
  • Lakers center Andrew Bynum, who finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds, battles for possession against Hornets center Emeka Okafor in the first half of Game 6 on Thursday night at New Orleans Arena.
Lakers center Andrew Bynum, who finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds,… (Gerald Herbert / Associated…)

Let me just say there's no reason to keep reminding bill.plaschke @latimes.com that he was so misguided, so wrong, and if you will, a Lakers saboteur.

If you want to email him, go ahead. But not me.

But I would like to know why bill.plaschke@latimes.com didn't want the Lakers to win the championship this season. There's no way the Lakers can win it without Andrew Bynum.

"I'm sure (bill.plaschke@latimes.com) wasn't the only one who thought Andrew should be traded," said Derek Fisher. "But I'll tell you, I don't hear anything now from the boo birds (or bill.plaschke@latimes.com)."

Sure there were others who wanted Bynum traded, players from New Orleans, Dallas and every other possible Lakers playoff opponent who was hoping for the chance to win a championship.

Bynum has now become the single biggest reason why every team in the league lacks the answer to hang with the Lakers.

As Fisher said, "I think it's still understated what Bynum has meant to this team. Obviously Kobe, Pau, Lamar and Ron Artest deserve the credit they get, but I think more times than not it's understated for Bynum because his stats don't jump out at you."

In short, and that's funny to say about a big guy, he's a game changer. He had 18 points in Thursday's close-out game, a dozen rebounds and a pair of blocks.

It might not be enough for bill.plaschke@latimes.com, but it caught the attention of New Orleans' Chris Paul.

"He's three times bigger than anybody else on the court," said Paul. "He had an outstanding series."

And then with a sigh of hopelessness, Paul added, "He hit a step-back jumper with the clock running down."

All season long Coach Phil Jackson has tried to convince his team and bill.plaschke@latimes.com the Lakers have the advantage on the league so long as the ball goes inside.

Tough to convince some of the Lakers to give up the ball when someone like Pau Gasol goes Don Knotts on everyone at times, but as Bynum's knee has become stronger, so has his game.

"He's getting better," said Kobe Bryant, although we have yet to hear from those who still think Carmelo Anthony would make the Lakers a better team.

As for Anthony, he's probably off playing golf.

"You see Drew's second effort?" said Jackson, as giddy as he gets about any player. "He can now go up, come down and go right back up. That was missing when he was having trouble with his knee."

A month ago Bynum was talking about helping the team only as a defender, but in this series he took to bumping and banging inside for better offensive position.

"I was trying to get deep position and do something with it so my teammates could trust me," Bynum said. "They will try to get the ball to you if they know you can do something with it."

Bynum averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds in the six-game series, dismissing the suggestion, though, that he just keeps getting better and better.

"I'm just trying to play hard," he said.

OK, so he still has to learn how to make eye contact with those who have to look up to him to chat. And he can be rude, as kids can be, when thinking nothing else matters but his own wishes.

That might explain why he rushed to the team bus, more interested in reading, "The New Psycho-Cybernetics," rather than hanging around and talking basketball after the game.

"I'm just trying to improve my mind and stay focused," Bynum said — trade suggestions, questions about his knee and bill.plaschke@latimes.com unable so far to knock him off track.

It might be quicker to text Plaschke to let him know how you really feel about Bynum, and if you just hold on for a moment, I'll get his number for you …

THE OTHER day everyone was worried that Bryant was going to have to play the rest of the way on one leg. So why was he playing against the Hornets with less than five minutes remaining in a game the Lakers were leading by 18?

I hope this guy Jackson knows what he's doing.

JACKSON WAS looking for the reporter who wrote a front-page story about him in the Times-Picayune here.

The New Orleans newspaper featured a huge picture of Jackson on the front page along with the question: "Why does he hate us?"

Jackson said he was being made into a villain.

I asked what the article had said.

"That I didn't like the water in New Orleans," he said.

"Is that correct?" I asked.

"It is the bottom of the country, and all that sludge comes out of the Plains states with the irrigation and insecticides," Jackson said, and hard to believe that would offend anyone sentenced to live here.

Jackson ended everything on a positive note, though, for the locals, saying, "I didn't talk about the rats, never have talked about the rats."

I EXTENDED an invite to Frank McCourt, which can be found now at latimes.com under the headline, "Frank McCourt is suddenly the Great Communicator." I mention that, because McCourt apparently hasn't found it.

He whined to media in New York that Commissioner Bud Selig was ducking him. It sounded somewhat hypocritical, McCourt doing the same and avoiding Dodgers fans and the L.A. media for the past year.

I've offered him a chance to correct that, but so far nothing. Maybe he's not an Internet guy. I just have to hope now Steve Soboroff lends him the money to buy the morning paper.

t.j.simers@latimes.com

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|