Not much has gone right lately for Andrew Bynum.
The problem child of the NBA missed all of last season with the Philadelphia 76ers due to a plethora of knee issues. This summer he signed a 2-year, $24 million dollar contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers. In 24 games, he shot 41 percent from the floor and was so unmotivated that the Cavs traded him to the Bulls, where he was immediately cut.
Besides a variety of wild haircuts, there hasn’t been much glamour for the 26-year old center.
Despite his grandpa knees and erratic behavior, I believe Bynum can still be the same guy who only missed one game due to injury during the 2011-12 season. He can be the same guy who threw up a triple double with 10 points, 13 rebounds, and 10 blocks in the first round of the playoffs that year. He can re-learn how to be one of the best big men in the game. All Bynum needs is the right situation with the right support system around him, which is why the fragile big man’s best fit would be in Dallas.
Here are the 3 best reasons why Andrew Bynum should be a Maverick:
1. The healing powers of Head Athletic Trainer Casey Smith
Smith is known around league circles as one of the best trainers in the game. He served as the chairman for the National Basketball Athletics Trainers Association for the last two years and has spent nearly a decade keeping the Mavericks healthy. Besides keeping one of the league’s oldest teams in good condition (their starting lineup’s average age is 32.4), Smith has also aided the past two US men’s Olympic basketball squads that won gold in 2008 and 2012. If there is anybody that can keep Bynum on the court for at least most of the season, this is the man.
2. Rick Carlisle’s wisdom
Earlier this fall, NBA.com released their annual GM poll that answered different questions about the league. All 30 general managers responded and ranked Carlisle as the second-best head coach for in-game adjustments, behind the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich. Carlisle is one of the most intelligent basketball minds in the game and the league is fully aware. He deserves a lot of credit for the 2011 championship and somehow found a way to squeeze 41 wins out of last year’s team, which missed Dirk for 29 games and featured a point guard rotation of Darren Collison and Mike James. Carlisle knows how to get the most of out of his players, too. Look at how Monta Ellis has transformed from a ball-hogging scorer to versatile playmaker that leads the team in assists (5.9) and steals (1.8) per game. With Carlisle’s help, Bynum can revive his career the same way Ellis has.
3. He fills a position of need.
Let’s face it Mavs fans, the center position is a significant issue. Samuel Dalembert lacks intensity and sleeps through practices, Brandan Wright is a nice role player but injury prone, and Dejuan Blair is only 6’7. Dallas might only be able to offer Bynum a minimum deal, but can offer a starting spot. Putting him in the frontcourt next to a future hall of famer wouldn’t be such a bad idea, either. Just ask Tyson Chandler, another center who faced early career struggles, how much he liked playing with The Big German during the 2011 title run, his only season as a Maverick. Then ask him how much he liked the 4-year, $58 million contract he received from the Knicks the following offseason. Bynum should follow the same one-year plan in a place where he will have an opportunity to succeed. If he plays well, the Mavericks could even use their free cap space on him this summer. If he doesn’t, it’s a low-risk gamble that didn’t pay off.