Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard, the two best big men in the NBA, will play for new teams in 2012. Bynum is now in Philadelphia, where he will instantly be the best center the franchise has had since Moses Malone; Howard was traded to the Lakers. (Interestingly, both are in contract years, too.)
The Howard-Bynum debate has never amounted to much – when healthy, Howard, 26, is widely regarded as the 3rd best player in the NBA after LeBron and Kevin Durant (sorry, Derrick Rose fans). But Howard’s coming off back surgery, plus an ugly exit from Orlando where he has been viewed as, essentially, a pouty, whiny, douche.
Bynum has battled injuries his entire career. Do we even know what Bynum, 24 – for another month – is capable over the course of 82 games? Not yet. His big edge on Howard is at the free throw line, where he shot 69 percent last year; Howard is basically a liability on the floor late in games (bottoming out at 49 percent last year).
Head to head, statistically, Howard has dominated Bynum, but that matters little, since some of these stats were accumulated by Bynum as an 18/19-year neophyte playing less than a dozen minutes per game.
Even in their recent battles – the last two seasons – Bynum only played 29, 27, and 26 minutes while Howard logged 38, 42 and 45.
Taking everything into account, you’d have to say Howard is better. It’s difficult to form an argument for Bynum. It didn’t stop Dorrell Wright – Bynum’s new teammate – from telling a reporter in Philly that Bynum is better:
“He’s going to need two defenders to stop him; I would say he’s the best big man in the NBA right now, hands down. He’s a guy that can give you baskets with his back to the basket; a guy who makes free throws at 7-feet. You’ve just got to respect him.”
Wright, who previously was in Golden State, got to see plenty of Bynum over the last few years in the Pacific Division. He wouldn’t back off his comments when pressed. The takeaway? This 76ers team is going to be extremely confident this season. Between Bynum, Wright, Nick Young and some other personalities, this could be the most interesting team in the NBA – besides the the Lakers and Heat, of course. [Philly.com