When the Philadelphia 76ers traded Andre Iguodala, they thought they were getting back a franchise piece to team with emerging point guard Jrue Holiday, in incredibly talented but equally suspect center Andrew Bynum.
With a history of knee injuries and attitude problems, speculation was that Bynum was looking for a fresh start away from the Los Angeles Lakers, where the focus could be more on him. Heading to a team that always wanted Iguodala to be something he wasn’t, maybe Bynum would be able to better embrace the role of “the man.”
44 games into the season and Bynum sure has been the man, the man on the bench. The 76ers are eight games under .500 after starting the season 12-9, and Doug Collins’ most crucial player hasn’t attempted a field goal, grabbed a rebound, or blocked a shot.
With anticipation for Bynum returning -and being excited to return at that – just after the All-Star break, could his addition be enough to make this playoff contender a lock for the postseason?
Coming off of a season where he averaged a career high 19.1 points to go along with 12.1 rebounds per game, I’d say yes.
As much as Collins likes to play from the outside moving in, Bynum is immediately the most gifted offensive center in the Eastern Conference (sorry Brook Lopez), and gives the Sixers the ability to play inside out, with a bevy of talented shooters to compliment the big man and his generous point guard.
When GM Tony DiLeo traded Iguodala, it was to allow Holiday and third-year swingman Evan Turner to handle the ball more. And with shooters like Nick Young, Dorell Wright, Jason Richardson, and even Spencer Hawes, the Sixers have a dynamic rotation that on paper looks as good as the majority of the teams on the back end of the Eastern Conference playoff hunt.
Bynum was excited to be traded to Philadelphia, and be back around the area he grew up in (Plainsboro, New Jersey), at his introductory press conference he made it clear that wanted to be a big part of the Sixers success.
He hasn’t been a part of anything just yet, but I fully expect his return to prop Philadelphia into the playoffs.