A tale of two Bynums

Will Bynum (Left) provides a ray of hope to Detroit while Andrew Bynum (right) isn't living up the expectations set for him in LA

When the surname Bynum is mentioned within the realm of the NBA your mind undoubtedly thinks of the young Los Angeles Lakers center, Andrew Bynum. However, his monopoly on this surname is dwindling, as it should, as the play of another Bynum continues to impress and shine.  Will Bynum, the backup point guard for the Detroit Pistons, is quietly making a name for himself. He not so quietly dropped 20 dimes on the Washington Wizards recently, turning heads across the league. I thought it might be a good time to compare the careers of the two players.

At first glance, there seems to be absolutely no comparison between both Andrew and Will Bynum aside from having the same last name. When you look at their careers and their personal statistics they would only seem to confirm this notion.  However, stats do not tell the whole story (but they will play a role in this story). Andrew Bynum has been a starter for much of his career starting in 190 games whereas Will Bynum has started in only five games. One plays for a team atop its conference while the other plays for a team out of playoff contention in the process of rebuilding. The most glaring difference between the two is one ring.

Let’s take a look at the numbers. Since Will Bynum only played in 15 games for Golden State in the 2005-06 season, I will focus on his two seasons with the Pistons. As for Andrew, I will deal mostly with his numbers from this season and the previous two.

This season, coming off the bench behind Rodney Stuckey, Will Bynum (I will refer to him as WB from here on) has averaged 10 points per game (career high) up from 7.2 ppg, 4.6 assists per game (career high and almost two assists better than last year’s average of 2.8), and 0.8 steals per game (also a career high). WB continues to improve his numbers and with his 20 assists game, his 4.6 apg average is sure to sneak up a tick or two. Only two other players have dished the ball as many times in one game this season: Steve Nash (twice) and Darren Collison. The night after he threw his dime party, he went for 17 points and 7 assists, in a rare start, in a loss against to Hawks. If WB continues to be effective on the court he could quickly find himself a desired commodity and possibly challenge Stuckey for the starting point position in Detroit.

As Will Bynum’s career seems to be on the verge of taking off and making him a well known figure to even the casual observer, Andrew Bynum’s career seems to be slowing down from all of his early progress and potential. Andrew Bynum (AB) is still a very productive starter on the Lakers averaging 14.9 points per game (career high), 8.2 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks. AB had his career highs in both rebounding and blocks during the 2007-08 season at 10.2 and 2.1 respectively. However, that season was marked by injury as he only played in 35 games. Apart from AB’s history of injuries (he only played in 50 games in 2007-09), the addition of Pau Gasol can be attributed to his decline in production.  His blocks have declined since the acquisition of Gasol, despite Gasol’s weak defensive effort, but the sheer size of the Lakers’ front court has made offensive players think about about driving the lane thereby reducing AB’s swat opportunities.  AB also has a knack for getting into foul trouble early in games.  This is one reason Lamar Odom is having such a great season; Bynum is on the bench giving him more playing time.  He has avoided injury this season for the first time in his career but his previous injury problems seem to be haunting him, both hurting his confidence and production. Hopefully, Andrew Bynum’s career has not begun to plateau. He is too young and held too much promise when he entered the league. David Stern did the right thing (something I will rarely admit) by not allowing players to be drafted directly out of high school. Andrew Bynum is yet another young body (he was the youngest player to ever appear in an NBA game at 18 years and 6 days) forced to adjust to the rigors and demands of the game too early. It is up to the Lakers to get AB back to the pace he was on before the injuries and the acquisition of Gasol.

They have taken different paths to reach the NBA. Will Bynum was undrafted and became a D-League standout earning the 2006 D-League Rookie of the Year award before playing in Europe and for Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel on their 2006-07 championship team before being signed by the Pistons.  Andrew Bynum was drafted 10th overall by the Lakers in 2005 directly out of high school. Each player has shown tremendous potential and skill over their careers and will hopefully continue to improve. Will Bynum’s 20 assists announced to the league that there is not only one Bynum who deserves fan and media recognition.

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