Dwight Howard vs. Andrew Bynum: Who's Better?

Ethan Strauss (@SherwoodStrauss) put an idea in my head right after my post on how even experienced bartenders fall prey to overvaluing height. Here’s Ethan’s question:

Most Laker fans are in favor of trading Dwight Howard for Andrew Bynum, as Dwight’s the better player. What they don’t know is that Dwight is really 6-9 (He’s listed at 6-11), while Bynum is really 7-0. I wonder if they’d be so in favor of this deal if Dwight’s ESPN card said “6-9.”

Many people think Dwight Howard is a good replacement for Andrew Bynum because although Bynum is a talented seven footer, Howard is a great 6′ 11” center. Or his he?

While it’s true that Dwight Howard is an insanely talented center, there’s more than a few inches between him and Bynum. It’s possible that stats nerds that just read the box scores and trust the “official” measurements may be coaxed into buying that there’s not a big size difference between Bynum and Howard. That’s simply not true. Following the same direction, there’s actually a bigger question – Would Howard over Bynum improve the Lakers? I’m actually leaning towards no.

Their numbers aren’t that different!

Coming off their 2010 title the Lakers faltered. In the 2011 season Dwight Howard was a top three player in the league and put up 18 wins. Compared with Andrew Bynum, who only put up 9 wins, Howard was the “superior choice”. Or was he? On a per-minute basis both players were similarly productive.

The overall impact was that Howard was on a per-minute basis a slightly better player. This came from his amazing offense. Not only did he shoot better than Bynum, he took around four more shots per 48 minutes and eight more free throws per 48 minutes. To make this up Bynum was much better on turnovers, better on assists and great at blocks. The biggest difference between Bynum and Howard though, was minutes played. At almost twice the time on the court, it’s no surprise Howard had over twice the production.

Let’s fast forward a year, shall we...

Get the rest of this article over at Wages of Wins Journal.