Los Angeles Lakers: Is Andrew Bynum the Best Center in the League?

Every time Andrew Bynum puts up numbers like he did on Wednesday night, a collective sigh of relief ensues from Lakers fans, management and players. 

Bynum scored 36 points and added eight rebounds and four blocks in a huge 113-108 victory against their in-arena rival—the Los Angeles Clippers. 

After being drafted at the raw age of 17, it took some time for people to buy into Bynum. Every season, he was involved in some sort of trade rumor. This year, there were talks that he was going to be shipped to Orlando for Dwight Howard, who some regard as the best center of the league.

In hindsight, Mitch Kupchak and the Buss family are geniuses for keeping Bynum. Acquiring Howard wouldn't have really improved the team. It wouldn't have hurt it either, but what's the point of a trade if you're not improving your team?

Both Bynum and Howard are elite centers. At the time of the trade rumors, Howard might've been the better player, but with the way Bynum has been playing recently, is it really shocking to call him the best center in the league? Why aren't there more debates and bar chatter regarding the two big men?

It takes time for a big man like Bynum to develop, though. He also had to deal with a few devastating injuries that stunted his development.

All of that is over now, as Bynum has managed to stay healthy, and he has slowly reached his potential as an elite center in the NBA.

So why is he superior to Howard?

No, it's not because of one 36-point performance against a Clippers team that lacks strength down low.

Let's just look deeper into the stats and we'll find our answer.

When we compare the raw numbers, Howard averages more points and rebounds than Bynum. Is that really a surprise, though, considering that he's the only star player on his team?

Bynum has two other world-class players on his squad, and one of them can be a little ...

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