Andrew Bynum fined $25,000


Thumbnail image for bynum.jpgThe second the words came out of Andrew Bynum’s mouth, you knew this was coming.

“It’s hard to play 8 on 5…When I asked one of the officials, how did you call a travel? He said, “I didn’t see a travel.” “The guy who called it looked me in my eyes and said “I didn’t see a travel.

Then in reference to a foul that he thought should have been called on Dirk Nowitzki, Bynum says the referee told him, “I didn’t think it was going to mess your shot up.”

The word came down today, Bynum will be fined $25,000.

The NBA looks at a player ripping the refs like Apple’s Steve Jobs would look at one of his VPs saying in an interview, “You shouldn’t buy the iPad tablet yet, wait until we get a second generation and have worked the kinks out.” Doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, you can’t have the employees (players) ripping the product (the validity of the games). So you get fined.

Every time I hear a player blame a loss on the refs, I remember my junior high basketball coach when we tried to blame the refs for a loss, “If you had played smarter and not turned the ball over every other time down the court it wouldn’t have mattered what the refs did.” High school coaches across the land say the same thing.

Bynum, if you don’t want the referees to decide a game, play well enough that you control the outcome, not them. It’s always on you. 

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.