Perhaps no Lakers player matured more during the 2009-10 campaign than Andrew Bynum, who battled through a painful right knee injury throughout the playoffs while giving the Lakers the paint presence they needed at both ends.
Bynum averaged 15.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.45 blocks on 57 percent shooting in 30 minutes per game in a mostly-healthy regular season (he played 65 games and suffered a strained Achilles injury), then contributed 8.6 points and 6.9 rebounds with 1.57 blocks in 24 minutes per playoff game.
The summary of his exit interview:
- Bynum said he’s planning on having minor right knee surgery around July 18 to correct a small tear of the anterior horn of his lateral meniscus that he suffered in Game 6 of the First Round. He had the knee drained on Tuesday morning prior to his interview, and is heading to the World Cup in South Africa to take in some soccer. He’s going to root for Brazil, “his dudes.”
- (On pushing through the injury and winning a title): “For me, I was just super, super, super happy. Probably the most happy I ever was on the sideline during that game. It would have been really disappointing to have lost that championship. Now that I have it, it’s kind of epic. We were down 13 points in that game … just amazing.”
- Bynum is planning on working with Lakers Athletic Performance Coordinator Alex McKechnie throughout the summer to focus on his core strength. “That’s just so like when you get pushed, you can find neutral to be in the best athletic position. I think that will help my game a lot.”
- (On what he learned from the veterans on L.A.): “‘I’ve been lucky to have (veterans) to learn from … I’m always going to feel like the young guy on this team. Dealing with adversity. Guys losing their games and getting them back. Trying to understand where they’re at mentally. A lot of guys started to read, which helped out. PJ pushes meditation. You figure out what works for you, and take it from there.”
- (On his mindset after the knee injury): “All I was thinking was that ‘I have to play,’ and ‘I’m going to play.’ I wanted to be a part of it anyway I could.”
- (On improving) “I definitely have work to do. I know with my size I (can be dominant). Offensively there is stuff that I can work on with core strength so I can finish over contact.” Bynum has a list of things he wants to improve heading into 2011 from his core strength, to footwork, to finishing moves & more.
- (On getting Derek Fisher and Phil Jackson back): “Super important … Fish is the best … We all want PJ to come back, every last one of us.”
- (On playing with Pau Gasol): “When we’re moving the ball, I think the high-low is very effective. It’s definitely going to work. And defensively having two seven footers really creates havoc for teams.