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Andrew Bynum Has No More Excuses

With his latest act of childish petulance, Andrew Bynum has officially sealed his fate. No, the Los Angeles Lakers have not (yet) been backed into a corner where they are forced to trade him. No, the season can not be neatly deposited in the trash, because the Lakers remain a volatile team that can still get it right from time to time. There is nothing that can't be undone in the game of basketball, no depth from which there is no return as long as a player remains healthy and capable of production. But, for this humble scribe, the ship in which I spend a decade or more cheering for Andrew Bynum's personal success has just left the dock, and I am most certainly not on board.

I'm done with Andrew Bynum.

There are literally no excuses left for Andrew Bynum to use. He's not remorseful whenever he does something stupid, like trying to kill J. J. Barea, or deciding to jack up a three with 14 seconds left in the shot clock in last night's game. He doesn't learn from his mistakes; he keeps doing the same stupid things, usually with escalating significance and premeditation (see his history of hard fouls). And now, he's decided to treat a professional game of basketball as his own personal Jackass video. Tune in next week when he takes his pants off and runs around center court in a sparkly thong.

What should be angering you about this whole Bynum affair isn't even his ridiculous on-court actions, or his terrible off-court behavior. What really gets under my skin is his post-game comments. In the post-game, he said he was "trying to expand my game". That the shot was not "a bench-worthy act." And that "he's gonna shoot more threes." He was doubling down on his own stupidity, but that's not my problem. My problem is with the concept, in his own mind, that the act of him taking a three-pointer was what had him sitting on the bench. There is no way Andrew Bynum is that stupid, that clueless.

Let's get this abundantly clear, folks. The fact that Andrew Bynum shot a three-pointer in an NBA contest is not the issue here. The fact that he shot a three-pointer with 14 seconds on the shot clock, after walking up court and arriving five seconds later than the rest of the team, without setting his feet, without squaring up, is the issue. The fact that Drew than proceeded a couple possessions later to jog back on defense when he was the last man, allowing Golden State to get an easy layup and forcing Mike Brown to burn a timeout just to be able to get Drew off the court is the issue. The fact that when he came back to the court in the 4th quarter, he shot a free throw with as much focus as you listen to your mother talk on the phone while playing a video game is the issue. Andrew Bynum knows this, or he is incredibly stupid. Either way, he is no longer a player I can stomach cheering for on an individual level.

Andrew Bynum has been given everything. He was drafted at 17 onto one of the league's best franchises, groomed to be the next great center on a team that has had more than their fair share of legends. The Lakers even brought in one of those legends to mentor Drew so that he could fulfill his potential. They have stood by him when he could have been shipped out to bring in other stars. And now they've handed him the keys to their future by not flipping him for a bigger star. The Lakers believe in Andrew Bynum, and since the Trade Deadline, he's acted like a spoiled brat about to go off the deep end.

What excuse does he have, that can even partially justify these actions? He's not young. Andrew Bynum is 24 years old, and that's well beyond the age at which human beings are generally expected to start acting like adults. He's not stupid--you can't go from "figuring it out" like he did last season in focusing on defensive efforts back to "petulant child" without awareness of exactly what you are doing. He's not even a superstar--Bynum's a good player, but hardly worth the kind of headaches he seems intent on causing. If there is one thing I'm sure of in all this, it is that Bynum will never be the best player on a championship roster. He's good, even great, but he will not be a legend.

There is no earthly reason for Andrew Bynum to think he can get away with behaving like he did last night, to say nothing of him actually behaving like he did last night. For that reason, and that reason alone, I can't justify rooting for him any more. I'm done with Andrew Bynum.

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