Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Andrew Bynum are as opposite as they come, one cerebral, the other self-centred.
In time, they may be linked together as part of a Lakers tradition of bigs to lead the franchise to an NBA title.
For now, though, Bynum needs to get his act together as L.A. takes aim at a championship.
“Andrew is doing very well on the court,” Jabbar said. “He just needs to try to calm down his ego a little bit.”
Abdul-Jabbar can only offer his opinions as someone who has watched Bynum from afar.
So far, Bynum has earned more attention for his behaviour than the career numbers he’s posted in this lockout-shortened season.
“It’s starting to get to him how successful he’s become, maybe,” Abdul-Jabbar added. “I don’t know, I haven’t talked to him so I don’t know. This is just my observations from afar because I’m no longer coaching with the Lakers. He’s doing very well and it seems to have gotten to his head a little bit.”
But that’s the nature of today’s NBA players.
When someone such as a Kobe Bryant needs a break to rest an injury, a player such as Bynum becomes the go-to guy and suddenly he begins to act like a prima donna.
At the same time, no one can dispute Bynum’s skills and if he doesn’t resort to that cheap shot crap from last year’s embarrassing exit in Dallas, the Lakers will contend.
MALONE HEADED FOR ORLANDO?
The prognosis for Dwight Howard, who underwent back surgery last week, is good.
Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the Orlando Magic, whose playoff run is not expected to last long.
In an article that ran in the Orlando Sentinel, Orlando Magic team physician Dr. Craig Mintzer told the paper that he expects Howard to have a full recovery.
He added that Howard’s recovery time is roughly four months, a period that will prevent Howard from representing the U.S. at this summer’s Olympics.
Furthermore, the doctor said Howard is expected to recover with no complications.
“He shouldn’t have restrictions whatsoever,’’ Dr. Mintzer was quoted as saying. “He should come back fully. There shouldn’t be an issue there. Really, it’s just a matter of time.”
Without Howard, it’s just a matter of time before the Magic disappear from the playoffs.
Once the inevitable happens, the predictable fate of head coach Stan Van Gundy will once again be front and centre.
One of the leading candidates to take over in Orlando once the expected ouster of Van Gundy unfolds is Michael Malone, Golden State’s lead assistant who served as Leo Rautins’ right-hand man on Canada’s national team.
Michael Malone’s dad is Brendan Malone, former coach of the expansion Raptors who serves as Van Gundy’s assistant in Orlando.
SUN SETTING ON NASH IN PHOENIX
The end for Steve Nash in Phoenix may arrive by as early as Wednesday if Utah holds court and beats the Suns.
The Suns did themselves no favours by losing to the visiting Denver Nuggets on Saturday, a loss that sees Phoenix looking in on the playoff picture.
With Nash eligible for free agency this summer, his future in Phoenix will be a hot topic.
What will it take for Nash to stay in Phoenix, what players need to be assembled, no one knows for sure, not even Nash.
“I couldn’t really sit here and tell you what those rules would be, but I think for me I want to try to see this organization be a contender again and be in the picture where we have the chance to knock off contenders and build a team that gets back to late May in the playoffs and June and if not the finals one day, so I want that for the fans,’’ Nash said without getting into specifics.
“I want that for myself, and I think the organization wants it to, so hopefully this summer, whatever those moves may be, there’s a lot of different directions you can go in order to give the franchise a chance to be competitive in the playoffs again.”
The way he keeps himself in shape, Nash can play another two years and still be effective.
The one omission from his hall of fame resume is a title and he isn’t going to get one in Phoenix.
It’s why Nash should bid adieu and sign with a bona fide contender.