Andrew Bynum’s Immaturity Will Lead to Downward Spiral with LA Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers' Andrew Bynum has generated a storm of conflicting public opinion this season. On one hand, he's received well-deserved praise for his incredibly productive All-Star season, even turning critics into believers.

That's what happens when a guy averages nearly 19 points and 12 rebounds over the course of a season.

On the other hand, Bynum has been a seven-foot lightening rod for criticism, and it most recently was Charles Barkley's assertion that the Lakers' big man loses focus when he feels left out of the offense (via the L.A. Times' Mike Bresnahan):

“I hated playing with guys that when they don’t score…they drift,” the TNT analyst said Saturday. “When they take the ball out of Andrew Bynum’s hands, he gets frustrated…and he drifts.”

This wouldn't be the first time Bynum's motivation has been subject to criticism this season. While the numbers have been there more often than not, the effort and focus are noticeably missing at times.

One of those times has been in the playoffs.

Bynum threw his credibility as a future leader into doubt with his first-round antics, all but publicly acknowledging his flippant attitude by arriving late to Game 3 against the Nuggets and later suggesting that closing out postseason series wasn't that hard. 

So much for the 24-year-old's public relations aptitude.

If you'd thought you had seen this guy at his best when he postured as the Lakers' next great deep threat, you clearly weren't giving his penchant for nonsense nearly enough credit.

After years of injury and inconsistency, it appeared that Bynum had finally reached his potential as one of the league's most imposing big men. Instead, he's challenging teammate Metta World Peace for the right to be considered its most obnoxious headcase.

Ever since Bynum sent the pint-sized J.J. Barea fl...

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