Kobe Bryant or Andrew Bynum: Who Should Be the Lakers 1st Offensive Option?

Before Game 3 of the Los Angeles Lakers first-round playoff series against the New Orleans Hornets, coach Phil Jackson said he appreciated the fact that guard Kobe Bryant was willing to sacrifice his offense for defense, but he would rather Bryant look for his shot.

Jackson admitted that Bryant's defense on Hornets point guard Chris Paul in Game 2 was a major reason that the Lakers were able to even the series, but he thought Kobe's focus on defense disrupted the flow of the Lakers' offense.

Bryant apparently got the message and he approached Game 3 in offensive attack mode, but his job was made much easier by a concerted effort to feed center Andrew Bynum the ball in the post.

The Lakers gave the ball to Bynum early and often in the post and it was apparent early that the smaller Hornets had no way of defending him. When they tried to collapse with multiple defenders, Bynum simply passed the ball out to the perimeter.

This led to numerous open looks for the Lakers' perimeter shooters and Bryant was often the main beneficiary as he went 4-7 from the three-point line and 10-20 overall from the field on his way to his 80th career 30-point postseason game.

Which leads me to this question. Why not give the ball to Bynum in the paint on every single possession that he is in the game?

When the Lakers usually run into trouble it's because they go away from their obvious size advantage in the paint and start lofting ill-advised jumpers from the perimeter.

Bynum gives the team they type of power option that the Lakers have not had since Shaquille O'Neal, and those Lakers didn't have the luxury of players like Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom playing beside him.

When the Lakers initiated their offense through Bynum it gave Gasol the ability to roam the paint freely, and he was also able to establish good weak side rebounding position in case of a miss.

In fact, Bynum...

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