Bynum NBA's best center ... for now

With Howard out, there's no debate the Lakers big man is tops

Originally Published: April 17, 2012
By Bradford Doolittle | Basketball Prospectus
Bynum-ChandlerAndrew D. Bernstein/NBAE/Getty ImagesBynum has taken a major leap forward this season. With Howard out, Bynum's the best.

It's easy to forget that Andrew Bynum is just 24 years old. His seven-year NBA career has included growth, sporadic dominance, a couple of championship rings and oh-so-many injuries. This season, the first in which he's been healthy since his second year in the league, Bynum has made "the leap." That's the hardest step of all, going from good to great, but in completing it, he might have surpassed Dwight Howard to become the best center in the NBA. For now, anyway.

Bynum has managed what only true stars are able to accomplish, taking on a larger offensive role without losing efficiency. Last season, Bynum used just 17.7 percent of the Lakers' possessions while he was on the floor, down from above-average figures the previous two seasons. In the last season of Phil Jackson's Triangle offense, he deferred more often than ever to Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom while focusing rebounding and defense.