NBA Playoffs 2011: Why Andrew Bynum Is Key to the Lakers Playoff Run

The title of this piece is a bit obvious; everyone knows how important center Andrew Bynum is to the Lakers' success. The point of this post, though, is not just to tell you that Bynum's presence is the difference between a ring and falling short. It's to tell you why. People seem to believe he's important without explaining it. Let's remedy that, shall we?

When Andrew Bynum hurt his knee against San Antonio on Tuesday night, Lakers Nation went silent. As back-and-forth as the Lakers have been all season, Andrew Bynum has been one of their few consistent aspects. Not only does the dude have amazing footwork down low in the post, but his aggression and activity in the paint is ridiculous. He makes every defensive rebound 10 times harder for the opponent and disrupts the timing on their every drive down the middle. 

Though the Lakers are still a great team without him, they're not a championship team. For L.A., the difference between winner and loser is Andrew Bynum. 

But why?

Teams have adjusted like crazy over the past three years, and not just to get better. They've adjusted to get bigger, longer—just to compete with the Lakers.

It's the reason Tyson Chandler was picked up by the Mavericks. It's the reason why the Oklahoma City Thunder snatched up Nazr Mohammed and Kendrick Perkins at the trading deadline. It's why the Blazers paid Marcus Camby a ton of money; why the Celtics picked up Jermaine and Shaquille O'Neal; why Al Horford has been central to the Hawks' success; and why the Heat have been trying to find a solid defensive center.

Before, no matter how many superstars you had on your team, the Lakers would beat you with their length alone, on both the offensive and defensive ends.

It's not just Bynum though. All three of the Lakers bigs—Bynum, Pau Gasol, and Lamar Odom—are freakishly versatile and well-rounded.

About the Author