Los Angeles Lakers starting center Andrew Bynum has had the type of season the floor so far in this campaign; that the franchise envisioned when they chose him with the tenth pick of the 2005 NBA Draft. The big man has remained healthy, until spraining his left ankle Sunday night against the Golden State Warriors; which has resulted in Bynum having his best campaign of his career. The center has averaged career highs of 17.9 points and 11.9 boards per contest and was selected by the fans to be the starting center for the Western Conference All-Star squad.
The breakout season has come with an unforseen side-effect however; as the big man now in his seventh season in the Association has developed a sense of entitlement, as if he were above the rules. Although he has yet to sport a mohawk and started to utter the phrase “I pity the fool” the nickname of B.A. Bynum is starting to become more and more appropriate.
Last Tuesday Lakers bench boss Mike Brown pulled his center out of the game against the Golden State Warriors after Bynum attempted an ill-advised three-point shot early in the third quarter. He would be nailed to the bench for most of the rest of the Lakers 104-101 victory; but he showed no remorse for his actions telling reporters that he would be taking more three-point shots in the future.
According to a report from “ESPN.com” Los Angeles has fined Bynum for what the website’s sources are labeling “numerous infractions” including allegedly not showing up for a scheduled meeting with team General Manager Mitch Kupchak. The sources were unaware of how hard a hit the big man took in the wallet and Bynum told reporters that he was unaware of being disciplined by the Lakers financially when he spoke with them Tuesday morning. He did however tell media members that his sprained ankle would keep him out of action as his club hosts the New Jersey Nets on Tuesday night.
The Lakers management understand that there are two sets of rules for the team; one for Kobe Bryant and another for all the other members of the roster. Bynum is sadly mistaken if he believes his team will allow him to have the amount of latitude they accept from the club’s superstar. Los Angeles bench boss Mike Brown is like the “Quiet Storm” he is extremely congenial but you can feel the intensity underneath the surface when you talk to him. He also has a strong sense of protocol and clearly his All-Star center has crossed the line.
Hopefully Bynum will learn the message this time and begin to start acting like a team player once again. Bynum has shown this season that he does have the skills when healthy to become a star at the pivot position in an era in the Association where dominant centers are sparse. However unless he keeps his ego in check; teams will think twice before offering the kind of contract that his talent warrants.