LA Lakers: Andrew Bynum Must Step Up and Anchor Team Defense in 2011-12

During his exit interview this season, Andrew Bynum lobbied for a larger role in the Lakers offense. Given the vast improvement in his mid-range, turnaround and post game, Bynum's desire for more offensive looks is certainly warranted.

But on a team of scorers like the Lakers, Bynum's request might fall on deaf ears. Kobe Bryant will be the first to enforce Bynum's standing in the pecking order, famously saying the Mamba "eats first, Pau eats second" and the rest of the roster, including Bynum, can take the leftovers—fork and knife in hand.

Bynum's plea came on the heels of a disastrous second-round playoff exit by the Lakers. Since then, the team has abandoned the triangle offense and will bring in an entirely foreign system under new Lakers head coach Mike Brown. Whether Bynum receives an increased role under Mike Brown's offensive system is uncertain, as it's still too early to tell.

Regardless, Andrew is focusing on the wrong end of the floor. 

Without a doubt, Bynum's best work is on defense. He is a game changer. Coaches around the league have shown great respect for the Lakers' defensive man in the middle and have been forced to adjust their game plans on sole account of Bynum's presence.

Drew must put aside his offensive aspirations and anchor the team's defense heading into next season. In fact, a Lakers title run might ultimately depend on it.

His ability to hunker down and be the veritable, dominant presence in the paint is something nary a team can contend with and an aspect that easily turns the 2011 Western Conference Semifinalists into automatic 2012 NBA Championship contenders.

Bynum's defensive dominance was on display during the Lakers' spectacular 17-1 record after the All-Star break once Lakers assistant coach Chuck Person installed a new defensive system.

The game plan was simple: fight through screens, run players off the ...

About the Author