Biggest of the best: Dwight or Bynum?

There isn’t much competition for the top two “true” centers in the NBA- simply because there aren’t many left.

Gone are the days of Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. Now we have an era dominated by guards and forwards but rarely the center. However, up the top of the pile are two absolute gems- two dominant big men- two players who can truly change the face of the game.

There can be no doubt surely that these two players are Andrew Bynum and Dwight Howard. Both were All-Stars in their positions this season, both have been putting up phenomenal numbers. But who is better? Who would you rather have protecting the paint?

Dwight and Bynum are almost two fundamentally different players. Andrew Bynum  is your Shaq-type big man, back you down, wear you down with his sheer physicality, and then hit you with a big step and drop in the soft hook shot.

You will see the Lakers occasionally use Bynum in the pick and roll, but the majority of his offensive touches will come on the low block where he will go to work on the mainly shorter man guarding him.

One on one, he is becoming more and more difficult to stop, yet his passing out of the double team is still something that needs to

Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty Images

be worked on.

Howard on the other hand is a much more athletic center, who uses his speed to get around the many heavy footed big men around the league. He can still back you down, but doesn’t seem to have the same touch or foot skills that Bynum does.

He looks to be much more comfortable facing up to the defender, or taking a couple of dribbles and then going to his highly favored running hook. We have seen glimpses of a developing jump shot close to the ring, but it is not a weapon that is often used by the All-Star center.

The pick and roll is something the Magic and Dwight take great advantage of. Excellent passers such as Hedo Turkoglu and Jameer Nelson able to thread the needle and get the ball to Dwight on the alley-oop or open in the paint.

The threat of Orlando’s three ball also means that the defence is constantly being shifted to chase down shooters.

The development of Ryan Anderson especially, often means that there are holes in the defence and usually one less big guy to deal with.

Dwight’s passing is also something that has greatly improved, meaning that he can find those open shooters who can then knock down the wide open shot, which keeps the team’s shooters a threat.

Defensively there is no competition. Dwight is the three-time winning Defensive Player of the

Year and doesn’t look like giving up the title any time soon.

He blocks more shots, gets more rebounds and is just a defensive monster. Bynum also has a tendency to get a bit hot headed, as shown by the elbows he threw all over the place in the playoffs last year.

Bynum is far from a problem on the defensive end, and certainly makes his presence felt, but Dwight Howard is definitely the main man in the middle.

In the end it really depends on your team. Both are probably perfect big men for their teams. Bynum fills the hole that Shaq leaves, and fits well into the Lakers’ offense. That said though, Dwight Howard still has the advantage in the head to head category, and in my books is far and away the best center in the NBA.

Andrew Bynum may be closing the gap and is no doubt a great player, but is not yet on the same level as Dwight.

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Posted on March 30, 2012, in Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando Magic and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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