Andrew Bynum faced the media on Thursday, the first time he’s done so since the league handed him a two-game suspension for the flagrant-two foul he committed last Friday against the Timberwolves’ Michael Beasley.
Bynum repeatedly said how the play was “just a hard foul,” and that if Beasley didn’t get hurt or leave the game, that it “probably would have been different.” But most concerning to Lakers fans might be the part where Bynum told reporters that he wouldn’t be hesitant in making a similar play in the future and, despite the punishment from the league, he still doesn’t believe he did anything wrong.
“No,” Bynum said, when asked whether the suspension would make him hesitant once he gets back out there. “I don’t think what I did was deserving of it. I don’t think I really did anything too wrong. It was unfortunate the guy fell the way he did and got hurt, but at the end of the day, sometimes, you know, fouls happen.”
It’s one thing for Bynum not to believe he deserved the suspension, and in fact, I am in agreement with him on this point. But it’s another not to recognize how the league views these types of plays, and not to modify your behavior to avoid suspensions in the future.
Bynum can still give legal and clean hard fouls, and the team undoubtedly wants him to from time to time, in order to maintain a physical interior presence defensively. But you have to at least attempt to make a play on the ball, and you can’t lead with your elbow and then follow through with it in a violent manner that looks like you’re trying to hurt someone when the play is reviewed at full speed.
The Lakers won both of their games with Bynum unavailable, but needed late-game heroics in each to get that accomplished. They may not be as fortunate in the postseason, which is why Bynum should, at the very least, be careful of how he goes about committing these types of fouls moving forward.