The Philadelphia 76ers expected a lot from their season. They expected to sneak into the NBA Playoffs. They expected to be above .500. They expected Andrew Bynum to play basketball games for them. Not one of those things has or will happen for the Sixers this year. Though all of those things would qualify as disappointments, Bynum not playing has to be the biggest one.
Bynum has yet to play a minute for Philadelphia this season after they acquired him as part of the massive Dwight Howard trade that involved four teams this off-season. That has really hurt what the 76ers were planning to do this season. For the Los Angeles Lakers last season, Bynum averaged 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game on 55.8 percent shooting. That’s more of what Philly thought they were getting as opposed to zero games played.
The absence of Bynum obviously left a huge hole on this team, but that can’t be the reason for all the problems they’ve had, especially the ones that they’ve had recently. The blame for how poorly they’ve played recently has to be placed elsewhere besides Bynum.
For starters, the team has been at fault over the past few weeks. With the prospect of Bynum’s return not looking so hot and their season looking like it will end without an appearance in the postseason, the effort hasn’t been there. They’ve looked sluggish, don’t look like they’ve hustled and seemed generally apathetic about whether they won or lost.
But head coach Doug Collins deserves some blame as well. First, he’s partly responsible for his team’s lack of effort. The team seems to have turned on Collins because his style of coaching has essentially turned his squad against him. But more than that, he’s continued to make questionable coaching decisions. He’s continually played guys like Spencer Hawes for a huge amount of minutes while young talented players like Arnett Moultrie are left catching splinters. As their season is pretty much over, not developing young talent makes no sense at all.
Bynum being out has taken a noticeable toll on the 76ers this season and they could have really used him on the floor. But he’s not the only reason that Philadelphia has had troubles this season. He’s part of the problem, but he’s definitely not the whole thing.