For those yet to read Lee Jenkins' (Sports Illustrated) profile of Andrew Bynum, get on the stick, because it's fantastic. Upon completing that step, strap on a headset and click the module to the right, because Jenkins is our guest. Among the talking points in discussing his article:
- Jenkins shares how Drew remains in many ways the same kid who entered the league with a love of computers, gadgetry and engineering. (Brian and I refer to such people as "geeks.") Bynum's desire to devour knowledge is what makes him both a unique athlete and a great fit for a team with a collectively high I.Q. -- basketball or otherwise -- and varying interests.
"He never really just hung out with the jocks at school," says Jenkins of Bynum. "He never really just saw himself as a basketball player."
- Jenkins talks about how the same thirst for learning mirrors Drew's desire to evolve as a player.
- Drew established himself in 2011 as a defensive force after two seasons spent resisting instructions to embrace this role. On the surface, Bynum looked like a typical youngster obsessed with "getting his." But as Jenkins shares, the issue ran deeper. Before getting hurt during his breakthrough 2007-2008 season, he appeared on the verge of becoming the second option behind Kobe Bryant. Then came the arrival of a more polished Pau Gasol, which lowered his place in the pecking order. As someone who fancied himself a scorer, Bynum felt like he had no role, or even a place in the franchise.
"There was a long period where he felt lost," explains Jenkins. "He needed time, a lot of time, to come to the fact that what he wants to do isn't necessarily what the Lakers need him to do. They need him to do something different."
- What bothers Drew most about Kobe's infamous "Ship his a-- out" parking lot rant? Being asked so often about it.
- As an intellectual kid, Bynum genuinely appreciates the heady Zen approaches of Phil Jackson. No matter who replaces PJ, Jenkins thinks it will be an especially big adjustment for Drew.
- With Jenkins gone, we talk about the importance of Bynum in the Three-peat quest. The 2009 and 2010 titles provided tangible evidence the Lakers can win without Drew dominating, but the quest becomes much easier if he does. Plus, he's been dying to make an indelible playoff mark, so it would be nice for that dream to finally get realized.
- If the playoffs ended with a whimper, how would that shape the offseason, whether in terms of the roster or Phil's replacement? Would a second round exit make someone like Rick Adelman -- who brings more experience but also a different system to the table -- more appealing?
- Is there reason to be concerned Pau's regular season inconsistencies will linger throughout the postseason?