Andrew Bynum: The X-Factor in L.A. Lakers Upcoming Clash With Miami

December 15th, 2010 by Howard Ruben Leave a reply »
Addition of Power Forward Joe Smith Adds Depth to an Already Strong Middle

Lakers center Andrew Bynum returned to action against Washington on Tuesday, signaling the hopeful end to his rehab from summer knee surgery.  With the acquisition (also on Tuesday) of veteran power forward Joe Smith from the New Jersey Nets; the Lakers have strengthened their core, which bodes well for the champs as they prepare for a Christmas Day showdown at Staples Center with the Miami Heat.

Bynum’s return can’t come soon enough.  And Smith, with his big 6-8, 220 frame and low impact ($1.4 million) salary, gives the team another body in the middle to go along with Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Theo Ratliff (when he returns, which is still uncertain).  The Lakers dealt guard Sasha Vujacic and a 2011 first round pick as part of the Smith deal.

Bynum is the X-factor.  Now 23 and in his fifth year with the team, Bynum has not played a full season since joining the Lakers out of St. Joseph (NJ) High School in 2005.  His talent and upside potential, though, are limitless; he’s gotten stronger every year and his shooting touch has improv ...

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