Now we know who forged Andrew Bynum into the player he has become. Lakers fans can send thank-yous to Kwame Brown.
That’s what Brown implied Friday after the Lakers beat Golden State.
First, some reality.
“He’s a grown man now,” Brown said of his former Lakers teammate. “He’s grown into his body well. He’s a lot more physical than when he first came in.”
Then came the fantasy.
“That was my young fella,” Brown said. “I taught him everything he knows.”
Followed by a little more fantasy.
“I’m one of the better defenders in the league and we played against each other every day in practice,” Brown said. “I told him if you can score against me, you can score on anyone.”
Brown and Bynum were teammates on the Lakers for 21/2 seasons until Brown was sent to Memphis as part of the Pau Gasol trade in February 2008.
Brown, 29, has averaged 6.8 points and 5.9 rebounds in 11 NBA seasons. The Warriors are his sixth team.
Bynum, 24, is averaging 19.6 points and 15.8 rebounds in his seventh season with the Lakers. He shrugged off Brown’s observations.
“Kwame and I are friends,” Bynum said, smiling. “We used to talk about cars. We went bowling too.”
New No. 2?
Bynum’s strong start has temporarily dislodged Gasol as the Lakers’ second option behind Kobe Bryant.
“It seems like it’s changing a little bit,” Bryant said. “Andrew is thirsty to score. He has more of a scorer’s mentality, so we’ll take advantage of that.”
Bryant had some advice for Gasol, a four-time All-Star.
“Pau has to shoot it,” Bryant said. “He’s not a scorer by nature. That’s been the biggest thing with Andrew’s development. Andrew is thirsty to score. That takes a lot of pressure off of Pau. But when Pau has shots, he has to shoot them.”
Gasol vs. Gasol
Marc Gasol is slowly closing the gap with his older brother.
The Memphis Grizzlies’ center has never been an All-Star, though he and Bynum are early front-runners at their position for the Western Conference team.
Marc doesn’t have the shooting touch of Pau but is a handful down low. Former Lakers coach Phil Jackson often teased Pau before games against his brother, saying Marc was tougher and more powerful.
Marc, 26, is five years younger than Pau, but listed at 265 pounds, 15 more than his brother. Marc is listed at 7 feet 1, an inch taller than Pau.
Pau, however, has won two championships. And the Lakers are 8-3 against Memphis in Marc’s NBA career.
“I’m still ahead and hopefully we’ll continue that this year,” Pau said. “They got us twice last year, so they’re a tough team.”
The Grizzlies and Lakers play Sunday at Staples Center. Gasol vs. Gasol will probably be a quiet matchup.
“We don’t really talk much during the game,” Pau said. “We don’t talk trash after the game either. We understand it’s painful to lose.”
The Lakers acquired Pau from Memphis for Brown, Aaron McKie, Javaris Crittenton, two first-round picks and the rights to Marc, whom the Lakers drafted with a second-round pick in 2007.
Marc is averaging 14 points and 10.3 rebounds this season. Pau is averaging 17.1 points and 8.7 rebounds.
Reserve power forward Josh McRoberts is expected to sit out his fourth consecutive game because of a sprained big toe on his left foot.
McRoberts is averaging 5.7 points and 5.7 rebounds in his first season with the Lakers.
Times correspondent Mark Medina contributed to this report.