Wednesday , Oct , 08 , 2008 Oly Sandor

L.A.’s Andrew Bynum or Portland’s Greg Oden?

After all, Andrew Bynum only has to play seamlessly next to All-Star Pau Gasol, anchor Los Angeles’ interior defense, and, most importantly, put the Lakers over the top in their quest for an NBA Title. Meanwhile, Greg Oden only has to shrug off microfracture surgery, play like the second coming of Bill Russell, and help Portland secure a playoff spot in the competitive Western Conference …


L.A.'s Andrew Bynum or Portland's Greg Oden?Each week, HoopsVibe the Blog will drop a player comparison for fans to weigh-in on. We call it head-to-head …

Two centers. Each is young, raw, and recovering from injury. And each is in high-pressure situations, facing expectations bigger than Jerome James and Oliver Miller.

After all, Andrew Bynum only has to play seamlessly next to All-Star Pau Gasol, anchor Los Angeles’ interior defense, and, most importantly, put the Lakers over the top in their quest for an NBA Title.

Meanwhile, Greg Oden only has to shrug off microfracture surgery, play like the second coming of Bill Russell, and help Portland secure a playoff spot in the competitive Western Conference.

Back-to-the-basket posts are rare. And when those ‘legit’ posts are physically gifted (like Bynum and Oden) hoop heads demand 20 point, 12 rebound averages.

Fitting in isn’t an option. These two must excel.

In our first head-to-head feature, HoopsVibe readers must pick the NBA’s best up-and-coming five-man. So, Bynum or Oden? Read both arguments, form an opinion, and get at us in the comment box below. We’ll tally votes and publish results next week.

The Argument For Bynum:

  • Last year, he gave us a taste. What a taste it was. Those 35 games were enough for many to dub him the NBA’s next star big. Bynum, in just his third NBA season after high school, averaged 13.5 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks. 
  • You can’t teach size, and wingspan. You either have it or don’t. Bynum’s frame, 7-0 and 285 pounds, makes him an above average defender. The young pro also has exceptionally long arms for his giant stature, which allows him to rebound, challenge shots, help teammates, and eventually anchor a defense.
  • Bynum can score 15-20 points without having a single set called for him. He gets points through put-backs, tips, and dunks. This is a luxury, considering L.A. has several players who need touches and looks.
  • Bynum has the right mix of fire and composure. As a rookie, he jousted with Shaq. A year later, he remained calm following Bryant’s infamous cell phone video. He just worked harder and improved.

The Argument For Oden: 

  • The first overall pick in 2007 has only played in summer league and one exhibition game. It doesn’t matter. Oden is still a can’t-miss prospect and is favoured to win rookie of the year. 
  • Oden is a manchild. His size, strength, and quickness will be felt on defense, where he’ll make The Rose Garden tough for visitors. Blazer fans should expect a minimum of 10 rebounds and 2 blocks per game. 
  • Like Bynum, Oden will have average double-figures. And like Bynum his points will come through rebounds, jams, and put-backs. For instance, in his first exhibition game, he had several dunks in just 20 minutes of work. 

Our head-to-head call: Right now, Bynum is slightly ahead only because he’s older and has pro experience. Nothing else. Each is somewhat unrefined. Each has much to prove. In time, they’ll both dominate and make old school fives fashionable again.

Who is the NBA’s best young five-man? Bynum or Oden? Get at us in the comment box below and return to HoopsVibe’s NBA Blog for more tidbits. Photo courtesy of NickSixers.