Andrew Bynum has yet to see the floor as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers, so we are still waiting to see what he will look like finally playing outside the shadow of former teammate Kobe Bryant.
I would think that playing alongside Kobe would be a good thing. He draws the majority of the attention from the defense, meaning that his teammates get solid looks at the basket and a lot of freedom to play their game.
Bynum saw it differently. He says being a member of the Lakers and playing on the same team as Kobe made it hard for him to develop.
"I thought it really helped me a lot obviously at first, because he draws so much attention it's hard for guys to double team and key on you, so it helped me tremendously," Bynum said. "Later, I felt I was able to get the ball more and do more things with the ball, so I could definitely see how it could stunt growth."
Again, I still think it is a good thing for a young player to develop without the majority of defensive attention, but I guess Bynum would have rather been thrown into the fray from the beginning. There is no telling what type of player he would have become if he had had to carry a team when he came into the league as an 18-year-old rookie.
I guess we will get some sort of glimpse if he can ever get over his knee problems.
When asked about Bynum’s comments, Kobe actually agreed, even complimenting Bynum’s abilities.
"For sure, because when you're playing with me you obviously have to sacrifice something," Bryant said. "Same thing with me and [Shaquille O'Neal]. You kind of offset each other to a certain extent. So, I mean, that's true. When he gets back and he's healthy, he'll come out here and he'll be the focal point of their attack and he'll be getting the ball more and you'll see big games from him more consistently."
Props to Kobe for taking the high road there and not referencing Bynum’s countless number of injuries, his soft play or his tendency to whine when things did not go his way.
As the old saying goes, “the ball don’t lie.” When Bynum returns to the floor, he will get a chance to prove what he is capable of, and then we will really see if it was really Kobe Bryant’s shadow that kept him from being a star in this league.
Image: NBC Sports