Just before tearing his MCL in January, Andrew Bynum had exploded to the tune of 26.2 points, 13.8 boards and 3.2 blocks across a five-game stretch in dominating fashion. After 32 games on the pine, Bynum returned from injury with just four games left in the regular season, and while not approaching 100 percent health, played a key role in L.A.’s championship by shoring up the middle of the paint on both ends.
In the regular season as a whole, Bynum averaged 14.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.8 blocks on 56 percent from the field and 70.7 percent from the free throw line in 28.9 minutes. In the playoffs, his minutes decreased to 17.4 a game, he averaged 6.3 points, 3.7 boards and 0.91 blocks on 45.7 percent from the field, but played a key defensive role in the paint.
Here are some highlights of Bynum’s exit interview:
- On what Mitch Kupchak and Phil Jackson had to say: “They basically just told me to do the same things I did last year during the summer time. They want me to play more, try to find some runs, maybe at UCLA. Just keep working … Sky is the limit.”
- Bynum said he’s not going to participate in the Team USA workouts because he needs to get his knee back to 100 percent. Right now, he mostly needs to rest (but also) strengthen his body.
- On the difference between this offseason and last: “Last year I had the surgery and rehab went smooth, this one was a tear and just takes a lot more time. I wanted to make it back, so I took it to the court maybe a little sooner than my trainer wanted me to. Even though I didn’t play my best ball, I got to understand the next level. The intensity was (so much higher), it was (great to experience).”
- Bynum said he doesn’t feel any added pressure with L.A. potentially missing a guy or two next season depending on how free agency works out. He’ll just play his game.
- When asked what two memories will stick out the most to him about the playoffs, Bynum cited Fisher’s two threes, which made him beam like a little kid, and the three-point shooting of Trevor Ariza in Game 5. He added that the experience was 100 percent difference from this season to last, from participating to sitting on his couch watching.
- He said he was completely surprised with how much Utah switched up how they played him in the regular season to the playoffs.
- The experience of playing with Pau Gasol, to Andrew, was “great.” He wants to improve his ability of playing from the high post so if Pau beats him up the court, he doesn’t have to adjust.
- On getting a sense from Phil on what he needs to do to be playing the fourth quarters: “I think it was just a matter of me not being physically right.”
- Bynum said he admires the strong base that Dwight Howard has that helps him with defense, and also likes the way he attacks the glass.
- Bynum talked about watching film of his torrid January streak: “First, my timing is there ….. It took about 15 games of the regular season to get into rhythm, (and then) I had it; Two, if you watch those games, I’m up and down the court, first or second always, always ahead, always involved. Coming off an injury, you just can’t get it back in a week and a half.”
- On a potential White House visit: “I hear (President Obama) likes to play basketball, so maybe we could all have a run.”