The majority of my 20th birthday was spent at home watching the Lakers beat the Kings in Game 2 of the 2001 Western Conference Semifinals and cramming for the Econ final I had the next day. Andrew Bynum’s will be spent on the practice floor of the team’s practice facility after a night in which he received a birthday cake from seven attractive women and then bashed those same Sacramento Kings for 18 points & 7 boards in just under 23 minutes of play. He’s better than me.
Bynum’s play this pre-season has also been better than his performance in the second half of last season and, as Mike Bresnahan writes, is reminiscent of his play from last pre-season. Most Laker fans will take that as a sign of the things to come as last year’s strong pre-season translated into an exceptional start that buoyed the Lakers as they dealt with injuries in the middle.
Andrew’s per 40 numbers on the pre-season translate out to an eye popping 22 point & 13 rebounds with 2 blocks on 66% shooting. This isn’t a pace anyone expects him to maintain that production, but with his new sculpted look it’s not hard to imagine him making another jump this season.
Something that could aide this is his new found penchants for dunking the ball. Every game so far has seen him slam home three or four of the highest of high percentage shots. Last night’s game not only saw him get setup by his teammates, but also taking the long step from the free throw line to finish. Keep that up during the season and you’re sniffing double digit points without the ball leaving your hand.
Mike Bibby was in midseason form, torching the Clipper point guards all night. Granted, the existing Clipper ones are not really known for their defense, but Bibby looks ready and will be a good test for Fisher and Farmar.