Posted by: Wilson | July 3, 2008

Center of Attention

Same Bynum next year?

Andrew Bynum is still recovering this off season from knee surgery, and although he is slated to be ready for the start of the season, who knows how affected his play will be. He had to have surgery done twice and this set his rehabilitation back even further. Kupchak has maintained that his injury is not “career altering”, which gives hope that Bynum will make a full recovery. Knee injuries plague big men through out the league, and Bynum’s injury is not as bad as Greg Oden’s or Sean Mays’ which had them sidelined for more than a year. And Oden is expected to make a full recovery from having microfracture knee surgery, which is way more serious than Bynum’s dislocated knee cap. Bynum’s youth should enable him to reach the level of play that he was at before the injury. In any event, the Lakers can always slide Pau Gasol over to center in the event of another mishap, a capable back up would be a better to have just in case.

Don’t the Lakers have Chris Mihm? Yes, but his play has been hampered by injuries. If he can play at a high level next season, then all of the Lakers center problems will be solved. As is, nobody knows how well he is going to play, so an insurance signing would alleviate any pressure.

What about Ronny Turiaf? Well, he still has to be signed, but, for his size he would be more suitable playing the power forward position. Although he is a defensive minded player and can bang bodies down low, his size definitely limits how effective he can be against opposing center. His energy and enthusiasm are priceless, and he is still maturing as a player, so a veteran presence would help him develop along the way. Signing an extra center would also enable Ronny to muscle smaller power forwards more effectively.

The young centers on the market are out of the Lakers’ reach, but some quality veterans can still be signed.

Kurt Thomas

He is strong and has a nice offensive touch. He has played stellar defense throughout his career, and he helped shore up the Spurs frontcourt in the playoffs. The Lakers would definitely benefit from his veteran presence off the bench. He can probably be had for the veterans minimum, since the Lakers can offer him contention.

Chris Andersen

An energetic defender, the Birdman has good size and has nice athleticism. He hasn’t played much due to drug problems, but he had some good seasons in the past. With him and Ronny together, they would just lock down anywhere close to the basket. Boston is rumored to be interested in him, so the Lakers may need to act fast.

Kwame Brown

As ludicrous as this sounds, Kwame might be a suitable option for the Lakers. With the offense clicking, he wouldn’t have to touch the ball at all. We need him solely for his defensive capabilities. He can muscle up to the big centers in the league and that was lacking for the Lakers in the playoffs. But, if Bynum remains healthy next year, hopefully we won’t even have to think of a scenario where Kwame Brown plays for the Lakers. For his age (25), he’ll get the league minimum somewhere.

Hopefully, the Lakers sign a veteran center and Chris Mihm returns to full health.

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