You might want to get used to this because the Pacers signed Andrew Bynum on Saturday. The former Laker,
76er and Cavalier is going to make a big Indiana team even bigger. They’ll be getting a guy who played 24 games this season before leaving Cleveland on not the greatest of terms. He’s temperamental, but he’s still capable of scoring and rebounding.
#Pacers have signed Andrew Bynum.
— Candace Buckner (@CandaceDBuckner) February 1, 2014
In 15 of those games Bynum scored under 10 but in seven of them he scored above that mark and in two he scored 20. He can still rebound too, and in most of his games averaged over 10 percent of the total rebounds. That said, his play has been average for most of the games, nothing that turns Indiana into an unstoppable juggernaut.
Is he an improvement? Let’s take a look at how he stacks up with current back up center, Ian Mahinmi.
Bynum’s role hasn’t been defined by coach Frank Vogel yet other than they’ll take their sweet time as they get him ready to play Pacers basketball. The first thing I see is he’s a more prolific rebounder than Mahinmi offensively and defensively. Bynum played 20 minutes a game compared to Mahinmi’s 16 and Bynum was a starter in 19 of the 24 games he played in. While you can see Bynum’s usage rate was much higher consider their different roles when making direct comparisons. One other way Bynum has an advantage over Mahinmi is a slightly bigger shooting range. Ian needs to be right at the rim whereas Bynum can step away towards the top of the key and still knock down a shot. What Ian has in a slightly better shooting percentage Bynum, the new addition makes up by not turning the ball over nearly as often. ESPN’s Zach Lowe also pointed out that Bynum protects the rim rather well, keeping opponents to 37.5 percent shooting within five feet, slightly better than Ian’s 42.9 percent.
Of course the real concern isn’t whether the Bynum can produce, but if he will alter the Pacers locker room chemistry negatively. Indiana’s fans are hoping the veterans will keep him in line. Personally, I’m not too concerned. This is also a contract for the rest of the season so it won’t affect how the Pacers go about resigning Lance Stephenson or Danny Granger.t. This isn’t the first time Indiana has flirted with Bynum, as Larry Bird told Buckner in January that he would do whatever he thinks makes the team better.
“That’s all rumor. But I’m going to do what I think is going to make us better. I live this. The moves I make might be the wrong moves, but whoever it is, if I think it’s going to make us better, I’ll bring him in. That’s what I get paid to do,” Bird said.
So assuming he isn’t a locker room cancer now that he’s back on a contender, and one they will cut if they needed to anyway, what is the downside of adding him? I don’t see why he couldn’t be an addition to an average second unit. The Pacers are comfortable in their identity as a team, Bynum is in the position where it is either shaping up or shipping out. It is up to him to fit in, not the team to adapt to him. You think David West is going to put up with that behavior? Doubtful.
David West does boxing for fun/training. Andrew Bynum knows this. The locker room will be fine.
— Nilla (@JayNilla) February 1, 2014
Obviously Mahinmi is not excited about the news but is being professional about it. We’ll find out what the rest of the team thinks as well.It looks like Bird is very confident in how the locker room will handle this. Larry said he is in the now, and he’s only worried about winning this year.