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In the meantime, for Drew, there's the test within the test. Friday pits him against Dwight Howard, an exceptionally juicy matchup among centers even if the world wasn't speculating 24/7 whether the two will eventually be swapped out for each other. No doubt, the battle at the 5 will garner oodles of eyes, along with non-stop comparisons between Jim Buss' prized pick and Superman. Although, if you ask Bynum himself, there's really no reason for a heated debate, because Dwight's the obvious winner.
"I don't make any comparisons," shrugged Bynum. "The guy is definitely more proven ... so for myself, I always look up to him and want to be able to get the ball and do the things he does with it. I think I learn a lot from watching him play, the way he rim-runs, and gets low and things like that. It's a fun game."
Although not such a raucous affair you lose sight of how difficult the matchup is.
"It's tough," admitted Bynum. "You don't want to get embarrassed, so you have to bring your A-game."
Some Lakers fans may treat Drew tipping his cap Howard's way as a lack of confidence or competitive spirit. Kobe Bryant, for example, would never concede another contemporary as his superior. Frankly, beyond a legend like MJ, Magic, or West, I'm not sure I've ever heard of Kobe referring to anybody as his his equal, much less better, period. (It helps, of course, that there haven't been many, if any, players flat-out better than Kobe upon truly establishing himself.)
However, I wouldn't regard Drew's candidness with disappointment. To me, it simply reflects Drew's standards for himself, which are pretty high. He's routinely more dissatisfied with performances, nearly a given after each game to pick apart something he wasn't happy about. And given his habitual lack of filter, he's much more inclined to give a bluntly honest assessment. Thus, he doesn't cling to the cliche' common among athletes, where it's expressed how they always think they're the best player on the court.
Plus, to be perfectly honest, Drew isn't as proven a player as Howard. Thus, pretending otherwise would sound either delusional or entitled, rather than confident.
Brown also acknowledged his desire to play Kobe fewer minutes if possible. Unfortunately, until the entire roster (and in particular, the second unit) picks up its collective performances, the coach thinks extra run for his superstar is necessary to secure victories. And Bryant is presumably fine with the arrangement, since it helps him maintain a strange hold on Western Conference Player of the Week honors.
And finally, the NBA.com general managers poll was released, and once again, Fisher took first place honors in the category "Which active player will make the best head coach someday?" But while it's hard to argue with the front office's feel for Fish's potential -- he's nothing if not blessed with the ability to reach people and garner respect -- the view on his future may be off. Despite the ease in which everyone and their mother can picture him holding a whiteboard, the five-time champion says he actually has very little interest in the profession.
"Coaching doesn't look that fun to me, to be honest," laughed Fisher. "They seem to stress a lot, and they spend probably more hours than we do watching film and preparing for the games and what not, so I have a lot of respect for the profession and the job that coaches do. But it's not something that I'm really looking forward to signing up to do. Especially anytime soon."
As far as Brown's concerned, that's just fine and dandy.
"I think they're wrong," smiled the Lakers coach. "I don't think he'd make a good coach. I say that because I still want to coach and I don't want him taking my job."
Tongue then removed from his cheek, Brown went on to praise Fisher's future, whatever it holds.
"He's gonna be able to do whatever he wants, whether it's coach or be a GM or a President of the team. He just has the right presence, demeanor or whatever you want to call it, to succeed in life. I don't care what he decides to do. He'll be able to get it done. He's got big-time leadership skills.