Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said Andrew Bynum wasn't always focused. (Nathaniel S. Butler/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar thinks that newly acquired center Dwight Howard will be more committed to playing hard than former center Andrew Bynum was, he said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times' Mark Medina.
Bynum went to Philadelphia in the four-team trade that landed Howard in Los Angeles. Abdul-Jabbar worked with Bynum for several years, and he offered some mild criticism of the center's work ethic and some skepticism of whether he will excel as a leading man for the 76ers.
"Dwight is very committed to playing and winning," Abdul-Jabbar said. "Andrew has been up and down on that issue. There are times he wants to play, do a great job and he goes out and does it. Then there are other times where it seems like he's not focused.
..."When I first started working with him, he was eager to learn. He appreciated me shortening the learning curve. Once he figured he did everything he wanted to do in terms of learning, he didn't want me to bother him constantly going over the fundamentals.
..."It's up to him to determine how much of a leader he wants to be and how to make that happen on the court (with Philadelphia). Some people like that position and adjust to it naturally. Other people aren't comfortable with it."
Abdul-Jabbar praised the Lakers' offseason moves, especially the acquisitions of Howard and point guard Steve Nash.
"Just the addition of those guys makes them contenders," Abdul-Jabbar said. "I'm not going to predict they'll win it all. But the proof is in the pudding. They put the pieces in that place to make it happen."