Contract Status: Under contract
Prior to his season-ending knee injury on Jan. 13, Bynum was well on his way to having a breakout season, garnering league-wide acclaim after his eye-popping 28 point, 12 rebound performance in the Lakers’ Christmas Day victory over the Suns. In 35 games—25 of which he started—Andrew averaged over 13 points and 10 rebounds per game, while providing the team with a desperately needed presence inside. Even more unfortunate for Andrew, it looked like his monster game against Phoenix was merely foreshadowing the high level he would play at during the season’s final four months. Before the injury, the center was averaging over 17 points and 12 rebounds per game in January, garnering well-deserved Most Improved Player of the Year buzz.
With a hopeful clean bill of health to start the season, Bynum will look to pick up right where he left off last season. Even though the team has changed dramatically since he last donned the purple and gold jersey, the Lakers will look for Andrew to assert himself down on the low block as the team’s primary interior defender. In the Finals, Gasol’s lack of physicality in the post was exposed, but this shouldn’t be a problem for Bynum, who will likely draw the defensive assignment against opposing teams’ best interior players. Moreover, Andrew’s help defense will also prove critical for L.A. as the team advanced all the way to the league’s largest stage without a true shot blocker.