Had he stuck with the original plan, Andrew Bynum would not be making his first start since his senior year in high school until next Friday. He’d be in his second year at UConn, coming off a season in which Hilton Armstrong came from nowhere to steal his starting spot.
Instead he’s learning how to play center from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar while being taught the game from one of the greatest winners of any era, Phil Jackson. And he’s playing alongside Kobe Bryant.
Basically, Bynum traded playing in front of drunken frat guys to entertain Hollywood’s finest. Times Square West over the snow covered boondocks that is Storrs, Connecticut.
Bynum scored 18 points and had nine rebounds in the Lakers opening night victory over the Suns Tuesday night, all but assuring any doubters that he made the right decision to forgo college last year.
He’s still a baby, but it looks like he’s got a chance to eventually become one of the premier big men in the game. The next of kin to a long line of Hall of Fame Laker big men, just like they were saying when they got the Isiah Thomas treatment in the 2005 draft.
It’s going to be interesting to see what the Lakers do this year. Bynum is going to see big minutes even when Kwame Brown is healthy, but is ready to handle the full 82 games, plus the playoffs? Can he bang with the big guys every night?
I guess that’s all still to be determined. But what a start.
Front and Center – LA Observed