Prior to Sunday’s Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers game, Sixers center Andrew Bynum addressed reporters in his locker, stating that Kobe Bryant’s ball hogging ways limited his development on being one of the best centers in the NBA.
“I thought it really helped me a lot obviously at first, because he draws so much attention it’s hard for guys to double team and key on you, so it helped me tremendously,” Bynum told a group of L.A. reporters. “Later, I felt I was able to get the ball more and do more things with the ball, so I could definitely see how it could stunt growth.”
Bryant, who spoke briefly with Bynum after the game, surprisingly agreed with his former teammate’s comments.
“For sure, because when you’re playing with me you obviously have to sacrifice something,” said Bryant, who had 34 points in the Lakers’ 111-98 victory over the Sixers after the game. “Same thing with me and Shaq. You kind of off-set each other to a certain extent. So, I mean, that’s true. When he gets back and he’s healthy, he’ll come out here and he’ll be the focal point of their attack and he’ll be getting the ball more and you’ll see big games from him more consistently.”
The 25-year-old Bynum has yet to log a single minute for his new team due to bilateral bone bruises in each of his knees. He is scheduled to see knee specialist David Alltchek in New York City on Thursday to receive an update on his knees. If he receives positive feedback from Alltchek, then Bynum will increase his conditioning by adding running on the treadmill to his workout routine.
“I am feeling much better obviously, and when I see the doctor, hopefully I will be cleared for impact,” Bynum said.
Depsite not being able to play, Bynum still feels that he is the best center in the league.
“Personally I think they traded No.1 for No. 2,” he said, referring to the Lakers trading for the Dwight Howard in the summer, which landed him in Philadelphia.
But Bynum dished the 27-year-old Howard some advice about playing alongside of Bryant this season.
“I think Dwight is a great player, but he’s going to have to get accustomed to playing with Kobe and not touching the ball every single play,” Bynum said.
Bynum has also been paying close attention to the struggles of the Lakers and has made quite a few observations. A couple of those observations being the team is plagued by injuries and there are not enough post up plays for Howard and Pau Gasol.
But defense was the biggest weakness that he has noticed.
“They got to make a commitment to defense, No. 1, and No. 2, I think they’re going to have to post the ball within a system that’s going to do that,” he said. “Obviously the talent is there to win a championship from a starter’s point of view, anyway. I think they struggle a little bit off the bench, so that kind of hurts, too.”
Even though Bynum gave his critique of the Lakers problems, he wishes he had the opportunity to play against his old squad.
“You want to play against your old team always,” Bynum said. “It’s just a shame. I don’t know when I’ll be back. I guess I’m just excited to play any game at this point.”
The Lakers will host the Sixers on New Year’s Day, but it is unclear if Bynum will be available for the game.
Despite all the observations and advice that Bynum was giving out, Bryant had one observation of his own. Bryant took a shot at Bynum’s combed-down afro.
“I don’t know he doing that perm, but I guess he’s a trendsetter,” Bryant said.