Last season, the Philadelphia 76ers made a surprise run in the playoffs and were even on the verge of reaching the Eastern Conference Finals before falling to the Boston Celtics in Game 7 in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals–which set the bar high heading into the 2012-13 season.
With the way things turned out last year, the 76ers knew they were capable of emerging as a surprise team in the Eastern Conference, but they still had a few areas in need of improvement if they would have any chance of competing against some of the other top teams such as the Miami Heat or the Celtics. When Philadelphia acquired Andrew Bynum in a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers, they appeared to have found the missing piece to the puzzle that would make them one of the top contenders in the Eastern Conference.
Unfortunately–that never even came close to happening this season.
After spending the entire year waiting for their star center to begin playing, Bynum won’t even have the chance to suit up for the 76ers this season as he’s scheduled to have season-ending surgery on both knees–making the trade with Los Angeles seem like a complete waste considering the possibility of Bynum hitting free agency and joining another team for the 2013-14 season. Philadelphia knew they were bringing on a risk last summer when they first acquired Bynum, but they expected him to at least suit up for some part of the regular season.
Instead, the 2012-13 season has been nothing but a frustrating game of waiting for the 76ers when it comes to Bynum and when he would finally play.
Obviously, Bynum has every reason in the world to be concerned over his knees, but there’s no question he could have easily taken his rehab approach differently than he has over the last couple of months. Most professional athletes seem to be 100 percent focused on their rehab to return to the court as quickly as possible, but that seemed to be far from the case when it came to Bynum–especially when he was out bowling.
The worst part about this situation is there’s no telling whether Bynum will ever even suit up for Philadelphia as he could easily leave the team once free agency begins this summer. As bad as it sounds, Bynum could have easily played this season if he really wanted to, but it seems like he purposely chose not to put in the effort as the season moved on as the 76ers continued to struggle and watched their playoff hopes slip away.
Bynum’s poor work ethic has been questioned in the past and this year verified that his heart was never with Philadelphia from the start–so let’s hope the 76ers realize their poor investment this offseason and simply cut their losses.
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