When Andrew Bynum was at the peak of his abbreviated NBA career, traditional big men such as himself and Dwight Howard were still commonplace, with the league’s game pace substantially slower than it is today. Although the former Lakers All-Star reportedly signed an agent and is now hoping to make an NBA comeback at the relatively young age of 30, many observers are skeptical of the chances he’d be successful in doing so. These include former Boston Celtics great Paul Pierce, who said in a recent interview that he has a better chance of making a return to the NBA than Bynum does, despite being almost exactly one decade older.
The comments were made on Wednesday, as Pierce appeared on ESPN‘s The Jump, speaking with host Rachel Nichols about a variety of hot NBA topics. As noted by Clutch Points, these included a prediction that recent Houston Rockets signee Carmelo Anthony will play a similar role to the one Pierce played with the Washington Wizards — a tertiary offensive option at best who might average around 12 to 15 points per game. As for Bynum’s planned comeback, which has also piqued the interest of many NBA fans in recent days, Pierce was even less optimistic when sharing his opinion on the matter, as transcribed by Bleacher Report.
“I have a better chance of probably coming back than Andrew Bynum. He’s been out of the game four years. This is only my second year out of the game.”
Separately, Fadeaway World shared more quotes from Paul Pierce’s appearance on The Jump, as he brought up another key reason why Bynum’s comeback attempt might flop — how changing NBA trends are forcing centers to do much more than score on traditional back-to-the-basket moves in the low post.
“[Today’s NBA] game doesn’t translate to what he does,” said Pierce.
“He was a back-to-the-basket player, really couldn’t shoot. I mean, it doesn’t translate to today’s game.”
While Andrew Bynum might not be as versatile as younger centers such as the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns or the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, he did have a solid run in the NBA before he quietly retired after the 2013-14 season. He won two championships with the Los Angeles Lakers after they picked him 10th in the 2005 NBA Draft, but saw his career end early due to a series of knee injuries. He will turn 31-years-old on October 27, or about a week and a half after the scheduled start of the 2018-19 NBA season.
As Bleacher Report noted, Paul Pierce will turn 41 on October 13 and hasn’t been gone from the NBA as long as Andrew Bynum has. While he retired with career averages of 19.7 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 3.5 assists in 19 years, his last season in 2016-17 saw him average just 3.2 points per game for the Los Angeles Clippers.