NBA / May 4, 2010 / 3:30 pm

Andrew Bynum: “I guess I am kind of injury prone”

Andrew Bynum (photo. Jeff Forney)

He’s got the fat contract (a four-year, $57 million extension that kicked in this season), the impressive measurables (7-feet, 285 pounds), and the Hall of Fame mentor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). But other than some inconsistent runs where he occasionally looks like a legit beast, Andrew Bynum hasn’t done enough to show he should be the future centerpiece of the L.A. Lakers.

Injuries have been the biggest problem. For each of the last three seasons, Bynum has missed significant chunks of the schedule due to knee and Achilles ailments. And after sitting out the last month of this regular season with an Achilles strain, the 22-year-old suffered a meniscus tear in his right knee during the Lakers/Thunder series that limited him to just 24 minutes in Game 1 against Utah and will at least require offseason surgery, if not season-ending surgery sooner. It hasn’t been as bad for Bynum as it’s been for, say, Greg Oden, but he’s not exactly A.C. Green, either.

With current L.A. icon Kobe Bryant famously grinding through injuries all over his body, the idea that the fragile Bynum is being eyed to eventually take over the headline spot for the League’s marquee franchise doesn’t even fit. Solid future All-Star center? Sure. The Franchise for the Lakers? So far he’s not reliable enough. From today’s Los Angeles Times:

It looked more and more as if Bryant and Bynum switched places on the health meter, the 31-year-old guard saying he was “very encouraged” by how his right knee felt, while the 22-year-old center accepted the facts of his growing medical file.

“I guess I am kind of injury-prone,” said Bynum, who missed 32 games last season, 47 in 2007-08 and 17 games this season before sustaining a pain-inducing tear in cartilage in his right knee last week.

His jumping ability was affected in the Lakers’ Game 1 victory and there probably won’t be any improvement until he gets surgery.

“It’s the same as it was,” said Bynum, who had eight points and 10 rebounds. “It’s going to be that way until I get it cleaned out.”

Season-ending surgery is an option if it worsens, but Bynum will continue to play though the discomfort, which he described as a sharp pain because “bones are against each other.”

“Cutting and jumping and landing and pushing off is where I feel it, but running in a straight line is not bad at all,” he said.

Even with Bynum playing hurt, the Lakers still have the frontcourt advantage against the Jazz, who are missing starting center Mehmet Okur and 6-9 forward Andrei Kirilenko due to their own injuries. Bynum, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom each grabbed double-digit rebounds in Game 1, while Gasol scored 25 points. Game 2 is tonight.

The Lakers proved they can win a championship without much help from Bynum, as they did last year when injuries and foul trouble had him on the bench for much of the NBA Finals win over Orlando. Apparently they don’t need Bynum to be a star this year, either. But if he’s supposed to be The Future, when is Bynum going to take the next step and produce on a consistent basis?

* Kobe talked about his, um, interesting photo shoot with Los Angeles Times Magazine, where he donned a handful of all-white outifts and had this Willy Wonka, E.T., misguided-fashion-maven thing going.

“They’re a little too artsy for me,” Kobe told the L.A. Times, adding that he didn’t like the “Babyface” look the stylist gave him, but admitted he had fun.

When a reporter asked whether Kobe would prefer his all-white Diddy party shoot or the infamous Alex Rodriguez Details shoot where A-Rod was kissing himself in the mirror, Kobe said, “The one that has four rings. Then I can tell everybody to kiss my…”

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  • Bruce

    Now Gasol will get more touches!

  • yoda

    well, first 2 knee injuries were just freak accidents. i mean, first lamar then kobe crashed into his knees. achillies and now that tear, thats rough. hopefully he will bounce back healthy and stay injury free in future. he is one of more skilled big men in league

  • Basketball Spew

    If I had a time-machine…

    I definitely would love to have Marc Gasol playing alongside Pau. The 14 and 9 sound real good right about now. I could see Mr.Buss now pitching tee’s “Meet the Gasol” or “Kiss my Gasol”. In any case Bynum looks like Webster on steroids.

  • LakeShow84

    You guessed right you goofy mo@#%$##@$er..

    lol

    But the positive is now Gasol will indeed get more touches.. so he can stop whining as well..

    you know when i first caught glimpses of Bynum i thought he COULD be the centerpiece for our team in the upcoming Kobe-less years but his game has NOT continued to grow.. he shouldve been had a 10fter by now and his passing out of double teams is plain sad.. last year he looked GREAT before he got injured.. this year he looked the same as last year.. Now with offseason surgery he wont be able to work as hard..

    A franchise post player has to do EVERYTHING and do it with variety to be successful.. And if you aint doing everything you can offensively you better get going on the boards and blocks ala Howard..

  • control

    I have only been saying that the Lakers were going to regret signing Bynum to that contract since it was announced. I remember getting beat up verbally by fools on here saying that Bynum was the next Wilt, etc. He’s not ever going to be shit until he can step up and prove something…and do it without killing himself for a few weeks.

  • DH

    @Yoda,

    How can you say Bynum is one of the more skilled big men in the league? Skilled at what, being tall and able to jump? He has no jumper and can’t really pass. He can, however, dunk. Is that what you call being skilled?

  • Basketball Spew

    @DH

    Unfortunately for Drew his injuries have really hindered his development on the court. Fortunately he is still a force defensively in the low post(when he’s not in foul trouble).He may never come full circle but he still better than 3/4 of the centers in the L.

  • patrick

    I am not a Lakers fan and I hold out hope that my Suns will roll through this year, but who cares if he is the center of the future. He is helping them win right now. If you have a center grabbing 12 boards on an injured knee in 24 minutes he is helping you. The lakers will probably be at or near the top of the game throughout that extension, and if he can help them compete for the chip then who cares if he isn’t the beast people wanted him to be.

  • Ian

    well no shit big man

  • Gunner J. Matthews

    No shit, sherlock

  • Marian

    HAHA these are the gayest pictures of any pro athlethe ever…AND I HAVE SEEN THE WORM IN A DRESS

  • http://www.SoulChorea.com Kermit The Washington

    They should’ve traded Bynum off for Bosh when they had the chance.

  • Damien Thorne

    Some of you guys and your crystal ball programs on your laptops crack me up. He is 23 years old!!!! Had he gone to college 4 years he would be a rookie this year. With that in mind no one can say 100% what his future will be. As for the person who says that Bynum is not skilled…forgive me for not taking you that seriously. Bynum does have a nice 12-15 jumper that he has been working on but you never get to see it because Pau is always at the high post. Also Andrew has a very good jump hook shot and a very soft touch for a big man. He is also a very underrated passer. Some of you need to learn something. If I have to chose between opinions of Internet Keyboard General Managers and Mitch Kupchak…well that one is pretty obvious. Good work Mitch…LOL