Hindered by injuries in his short career and constantly analyzed about his development, questions have surrounded promising Lakers' center Andrew Bynum from the outset of his professional career.
The best scoring season Bynum has ever had was when he averaged 15 points per game last season. He won't reach that this season, but he proven one aspect of his game lately that can't be ignored.
Since the All-Star break, Bynum has been a rebounding machine.
Bynum has had 16 games since the break where he has played 25 or more minutes. In those game, Bynum has averaged 13.75 rebounds per game.
To put that statistic in perspective, the leading rebounders in the NBA are Kevin Love, who is averaging 15.2 per game, and Dwight Howard, who is averaging 14.2 rebounds per game.
Had Bynum played a whole season, and rebounded at the pace he has since the break, he would be third.
Per 48 minutes, Bynum ranks fourth in the NBA in rebounding.
But those numbers are misleading. Bynum would likely average much more than 13.75 per game if he didn't have to share a court with skilled big men, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom.
Gasol and Odom are ranked sixth and 14th in rebounding, respectively. Though Bynum is rarely on the court with both the players at the same time, he loses rebounds to his fellow teammates.
Love doesn't have a teammate who is among the top 50 in rebounding. Howard has only one teammate in the top 50 -- Marcin Gortat ranks 27th.
The Lakers, meanwhile, are ranked third in the NBA rebounding, thanks to their long front court.
Despite the recent small slide by Los Angeles, Bynum's rebounding surge and the Lakers' hot streak since the break is probably not a coincidence.
Certainly, Kobe Bryant's perimeter game, and Gasol's inside game are vital to the Lakers' success. But the Lakers may get upset in the playoffs if opponents edge them in the intangibles.
Should the Lakers win their third consecutive championship, Bynum's rebounding prowess might be the reason.