This was supposed to be the Philadelphia 76ers year. After a playoff run which included beating the number one seeded Chicago Bulls the franchise needed to take another, crucial step forward this season. That decision netted them Andrew Bynum, who was coming off an all-star year with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Bynum. a legitimate seven footer, was supposed to help the team compete with the likes of the Miami Heat, New York Knicks and the Indiana Pacers. It has gone all wrong. He hasn’t even dressed for one game and the team is worse off than they were last year.
On August 10 of last year a blockbuster trade involving the Sixers, Lakers, Orlando Magic, Denver Nuggets shocked the NBA world. Bynum came to the Sixers. Andre Iguodala went to the Nuggets while Dwight Howard landed in Los Angeles. Who would have thought that the Nuggets would win that trade? That’s another discussion for another day.
Everyone remembers the tallest boy in their high school. He was so tall that the basketball coach begged him to play. He really didn’t want to play but figured why not. He wasn’t very coordinated or very good, but he quickly realized that playing basketball and being on the team made him popular, and afforded him the ability to talk to girls and hang out with the cool kids.
On that team, he really just showed up and didn’t need to work too hard. His height did it all for him. His height was the only reason why he was on the team. Sometimes the story ended nicely as the tall kid learned some skills, learned some work ethic and played because he started liking the game. Most of the time it’s just the opposite as the game past the tall kid by and he went back to his awkward goofy high school life.
That is the story of Bynum. He was tall so he decided to play basketball. He had some athletic ability and got to play with a lot of good players. He got his points and got noticed by some scouts. He was a seven footer in high school who wasn’t totally uncoordinated, so he got drafted by the Lakers and was surrounded by lots of stars.
While in Los Angeles, Bynum didn’t work very hard and really didn’t want to learn. He was simply at the right place at the right time. He would have some good games but never really reached his full potential. He was a part of two championships sometimes contributing and sometimes not. He finally made an all-star game in 2012. That is his story.
At 25 years old, you figure the Lakers would be drooling over him. An All-Star center with two rings and tons of years left in the league. So why did they trade him? Did they know something no one else in the league knew? Did they know his knees would fail him? The Lakers understood quickly what they had in Bynum. They had a tall kid who kind of fell into the game and was at the right place at the right time. They had a kid who liked everything that surrounded the game but not the game itself. So they got rid of him.
Now he is the Sixers problem. He has become known more for his hairstyles than for his play. It seems he is happy collecting paychecks and doesn’t really care for the game. It doesn’t look like he is dying to get back, and doesn’t sound like he is working hard to come back. In the end, does he really want to play. He has his rings and he has his money, so why risk anything else?
Bynum is that guy in high school who used his talents to get whatever he wanted without really trying. His talent happened to be that he was tall and it was that and only that which made him into an NBA player. Has he really gotten any better or has he added to his game? 99% of his baskets are from less than one feet away from the rim. How hard is it for him to put his hands up, get the ball, turn and dunk. He should be scoring 40 points and dominating games but he isn’t good enough to do that. He will never be good enough.
Follow Shahab on Twittter @SchoolboyShebe
Add Shahab to your network on Google