Andrew Bynum averaged 11.3 points on 57.4 percent shooting, 9.4 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 54 regular season games, missing the first 24 while recovering from offseason knee surgery. He was the defensive anchor of L.A.’s system, designed to funnel players his way, which worked particularly well in the team’s 17-1 burst out of the All-Star break but faltered in the Western Conference Semi Finals against Dallas.
In the playoffs, Bynum upped his numbers to 14.4 points on 54.3 percent shooting with 9.6 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 10 games, averaging a double-double in Round 1 and finishing his season healthier than the previous two, with no offseason operations needed.
Below is a summary of his exit interview at the team’s practice facility on Tuesday:
- Bynum opened with a statement to apologize for the Flagrant 2 foul he committed on J.J. Barea in the fourth quarter:
Number one, I want to apologize for my actions at the start of the 4th quarter in Dallas in Game 4. They don’t represent me, my upbringing, this franchise, or any of the Laker fans out there that want to watch us and watch us succeed. Furthermore and more importantly, I want to actually apologize to J.J. Barea for doing that. I’m just glad he wasn’t seriously injured in the event, and all I could say is, I looked at it, it’s terrible and it definitely won’t happen again. I went and I watched it, and it was terrible. Sometimes you just have to man up and own it, and that’s what happened. It’s that simple.
- On he talked about with GM Mitch Kupchak at his exit interview: “We just talked about how I can become a better player. I have some work to do, I have some natural skills, I have some size. Mentally I’m going to go into the summer, prepare and try to add a couple of moves to my game, come back in better shape and being healthy.”
- On his role: “My role on this team was to be a defensive force and get as many rebounds as I can. Defense and rebounds for me are the most important aspect of what I can bring to this team. Offensively for me, this series and throughout the playoffs, I was just being more aggressive, just trying to give us a solid option. I did a decent job at that, but it wasn’t enough.” He added that he’s going to work in the offseason to continue to be a bigger part of the team.
- On trust issues: “I really just think that we weren’t out there all doing it together.” He’d go on to say later that he didn’t think the team was unable to find that cohesion on defense. He didn’t think the defense changed too much, but said the Lakers didn’t adjust as other teams (specifically Dallas) planned for it.
- His goals for offseason: “I want to come back with strong legs, a strong base, some quick moves and how to deal with a double team. I’m going to watch a lot of film … I need to understand how to get the ball out in those situations (through double teams) … Maybe use some cunning, become a smart basketball player (on defense).”
- Finally, important news for Bynum, and the Lakers, that this is the first offseason he’s entering in four seasons without any injuries that need to be attended to: “It’s going to change greatly how I approach the summer because I’m going to be able to work on my own. I don’t have to go through rehab, I don’t have to sit down for four months … physically I feel great, I have no injuries going into the summer. On that note, I’m definitely looking forward to becoming a better player.”