Andrew Bynum: Can the L.A. Lakers Center Still Be an NBA Star?

Can you imagine how good Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum could be if fate had not chose to deal him a hand that was loaded with a string of future injuries

When I first saw Bynum as a 17-year-old high schooler in New Jersey I was impressed by his quick feet, size, strength and rebounding acumen but I was still a little confused as to why the Lakers selected Bynum with the 10th pick of the 2005 NBA draft.

I understood the Lakers desperate need for an inside presence to replace the departed Shaquille O'Neal, but Bynum seemed like a bit of a reach with the 10th pick, especially considering the fact he had no real basketball skills.

Bynum was extremely raw in my opinion, and although I could definitely see his potential, I didn't think the Lakers had the time to wait for his talent to manifest.

Los Angeles had pretty much dropped off the NBA map in the immediate time after O'Neal left for Miami as they failed to reach the postseason for only the second time in the history of the franchise, and Bynum looked to be at the very least a five season project.

Star guard Kobe Bryant had began to whisper about being traded and those whispers became full-blown shouts following a season without the playoffs, and a subsequent first round exit when the Lakers did finally manage to qualify again following the 2005-06 season.

But just when Bryant's threats of a forced trade were at their highest decibel following the Lakers collapse against Phoenix during the 2007 NBA Playoffs, a funny thing happened.

All of a sudden Bryant quieted down and signed his contract extension and when the 2007-08 season began we were able to catch a glimpse of why Kobe's pleas for "help or else" had been silenced.

Bynum began the 2007-08 season on a tear averaging 13.1 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and shooting an amazing 63 percent from the field, but more importantly the Lake...

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