Lakers Moments: Andrew Bynum makes his mark
Getting ready: Lakers center Andrew Bynum listens to the National Anthem before Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals at Staples Center on May 2, 2010.
Drafted by the Lakers out of high school, the 7-foot Bynum helped fulfill the big-man role the Lakers needed in order to challenge for an NBA title following Shaquille O’Neal’s departure from the team.
Selected 10th overall in the 2005 NBA Draft, he became the youngest player ever to play in an NBA game later that season. Working extensively with Lakers assistant coach Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bynum showed flashes of potential during his rookie season –- he posted his first double-double in a game against Minnesota in November and recorded 19 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks against Denver in early January.
Bynum’s playing time increased significantly during his sophomore year; however, he missed a significant amount of time during the 2007-08 season when he dislocated his right knee cap after landing awkwardly on teammate Lamar Odom’s foot.
He was playing the best basketball of his career in the 2008-2009 season when he tore his medial collateral ligament. Before the injury, he averaged 26 points and 14 rebounds per game in the five games. He returned at the end of the regular season and, alongside forward Pau Gasol, helped the Lakers control the inside game en route to their first NBA title since 2002.
Bynum stayed relatively healthy during the 2009-10 season, starting in 65 games before injuring his left knee during the first round of the playoffs against Oklahoma City. Despite the pain, Bynum appeared in all 23 of the Lakers’ playoff games.
Read more about Andrew Bynum and see where he ranks in the team's career blocked shots in All Things Lakers, the Los Angeles' Times interactive database of all things purple and gold.
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-- Austin Knoblauch
Photo credit: Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times