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Los Angeles Lakers' Andrew Bynum Will Have Better Season Than Dwight Howard by Playing with Steve Nash

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COMMENTARY | There are a lot of reasons to like Andrew Bynum remaining a member of the Los Angeles Lakers if you're a fan of the team.

There's only one reason that really matters when it comes to the All-Star's effectiveness, however.

That's Steve Nash.

By signing with the Lakers in the summer of 2012, Nash becomes the best point guard the team has had in years, and certainly the best since Bynum joined the team as a 17-year-old.

The question that remains is how much better will Bynum be now that he has an elite floor general alongside him?

To find the answer, look no further than Marcin Gortat. The Polish Hammer saw his career virtually skyrocket after joining a Nash-led Phoenix Suns team via trade. In his second season with the team in 2011-2012, he posted per game career highs in points (15.4), rebounds (10.0), blocks (1.5), and minutes (32.0). Those stats trump his best full season numbers with Orlando of 3.8--4.5--0.8--12.6. It wasn't by accident that Phoenix brought out the best in him with a legendary player running the offense.

Imagine what Nash will do for Bynum given those numbers from an NBA journeyman. We're talking about an NBA All-Star who's just 24 years old.

Yes, Dwight Howard is better than Bynum, but only marginally. The gap lessens even more when considering the severity of Howard's back injury and subsequent surgery. In 2011-2012, the PER discrepancy was very close -- Howard's regular season 26.4 rating bested Bynum's 24.2. When considering the fact that Bynum did it over the course of a full (and lockout-shortened) season and missed no time due to injury, his numbers carry even more weight.

And lest we forget, Bynum is by far the better free throw shooter at a 69.2 percent mark against Howard's paltry 49.1 percent.

The bottom line is that Bynum is steadily improving, and he'll without question get better with Nash in the backcourt. When it comes to Howard, he hasn't played since having back surgery. There are no guarantees that the same player emerges moving forward. Bynum has knee issues, but he's gotten stronger of late and knows how to manage his ailments.

The back injury to Howard is uncharted territory. Because there are no more guarantees with Howard, physically and emotionally, Nash is the ultimate equalizer for Bynum.

Michael C. Jones is a Yahoo! Featured Contributor in Sports and covers the Los Angeles Lakers and the NBA. He has written for Southern California's The Press-Enterprise and Examiner.com among other sites. For more insight, you can follow him on Twitter.

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