Great news for Cavs fans as Bynum looked goooooooooood last night. He started, he broke the 20 min mark and he put up a very nice line of 11/6/2/2. There were two issues with his offensive performance. The first was that he turned the ball over 3 times. Turnovers all around hurt the Cavs last night and Bynum was no exception. The other problem lies with the rest of the team.
With only a few exceptions, going forward Bynum needs to be the focal point of virtually every offensive possession to start games. Historically this has been a recipe for success for all the best centers in the league. Kareem, Wilt, Shaq, Hakeem, Robinson in their primes averaged between 15 and 29 (twenty nine- holy cow Wilt!) field goal attempts per 36 mins. It should go without saying that those guys are HOFers and Bynum's career hasn't matched them to this point but lest go into what happened last night against the Bulls.
First off Bynum has a huge size advantage over Noah. He has perhaps 50 lbs on him and last night he was showing that he knows how to use it. Backing him down and getting great position followed by some nice footwork left him 3/5 from the field with 5 FT attempts (all made- I am sure we will hear at some point this year that Bynum worked on his FT shooting a lot when he was rehabbing, because he is 13/14 so far and his stroke looks far to good for that of a career 70% shooter). He was scoring and drawing fouls at a good clip.
Obviously the scoring in and of itself are a welcome addition to a team that is struggling, but almost as important as those points is the broader effect it has on the game. Noah is the Bulls defensive anchor, this term gets applied to half, or more, of the centers in the league but it is earnestly true for the Bulls. They need Noah's agility and effort on their help defense to cover for Boozer's lack of speed and to allow their whole defensive system to function. Planting Bynum down low over and over again means the Bulls have two bad choices to make. They can leave their most valuable defensive player to fight for position against a 280 lb behemoth and watch as his energy is steadily sapped away or they can start rotating help over ever time Bynum gets the ball with any kind of position. The former will force Noah to expend energy, commit fouls and diminish his impact in all other facets of the game. The latter forces rotations and opens up driving lanes and 3 pointers once Bynum starts to recognize and pass out of the help.
I am not exaggerating when I say that this should be occurring virtually ever single time down the court to open the game. Every possession should have forced the Bulls into an uncomfortable zone where they isolate their strongest link at his weakest position or they double and lose the value of their wing defenders ability to jump passing lanes.