Bynum on explosiveness: ‘I don’t think it will come back’
CLEVELAND, Ohio — You don’t miss an entire season and come back as the same player. Not right away, maybe not ever.
That is what Cavaliers center Andrew Bynum says he is facing today.
“I don’t think it’s going to come back,” Bynum said Monday prior to the Cavs’ 93-92 win over the visiting Minnesota Timberwolves.
Bynum was talking about his explosiveness, the type that enabled him to average 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game two seasons ago with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Last year with the Philadelphia 76ers, he didn’t even step on the practice court. A surgery on each knee in March kept him out for good.
Now, he’s back on the floor, slowly gaining minutes, which have become increasingly encouraging.
On Monday, he finished with 10 points, four rebounds, three blocked shots and a season-high 18 minutes. For the first time in four games, he played in each half.
But it’s a gradual process, and Bynum admittedly is impatient.
“It makes you have to rely more on footwork and skills vs. athleticism,” he said.
All of it makes Bynum wonder if he’ll ever feel the same on the floor.
“I missed the entire year last year and that’s for a reason,” he said. “I have skill, I have talent. I just need to get my timing back.”
Bynum admitted to having pains here and there (describing them as “little sharp”), but overall his knees are responding well to playing time. And as Cavs coach Mike Brown said, Bynum clearly “impacted the game.”
“He’s a skilled big guy,” Brown said. “You see him post up. He can shoot the basketball. Our trainers said we can increase the time we play him in both halves. For me, it was an easy decision.”
Bynum’s presence does indeed make a major difference. He is a true 7-footer with a wide body, and yes, a strong basketball mind. He doesn’t just get in the way. He defends.
He has made everyone from Brooklyn Nets’ center Brook Lopez to T-Wolves center Nikola Vukevic miserable already this season. And that’s in limited minutes.
If Bynum can return to regular minutes … well, that could alter the course of the Cavs’ season, and for the better.
It won’t really matter if Bynum’s old explosiveness returns. All he’ll need is to stay on the floor, and do what he’s done so far.
“I’m coming along,” he said. “(But) not there yet.”