Should the Philadelphia 76ers gamble on Andrew Bynum, or should they let his potential walk away?
The response most NBA fans and even former Sixer Julius Erving will tell you is no. Let this also be a warning to any team looking at Bynum.
Yes, he is only 25-years old and he showed potential two seasons ago with the Los Angeles Lakers. However, that is the only thing he has going for him. Bynum carries too much baggage from his recurring injury to his work ethic. Not to mention he has the ability to injury himself bowling. His weight was even a problem at the start of the season. He was rumored to be 15 pounds overweight at the start of training camp.
There’s also the question of whether the Sixers should build around a player who hasn’t even played a preseason game last season.
While his size would alter Eastern Conference opponents’ offenses, he will demand a hefty contract that would hinder the Sixers’ chances of signing another marquee free agent to pair with him, such as Danny Granger or Josh Smith. Bynum is expected to receive a max contract similar to Dwight Howard from multiple teams with cap space.
He would most likely make the Sixers into playoff contenders, but he would still need help when he’s being double or triple-teamed. The Sixers don’t have another option to take the pressure off of him.
After all, history has proven that teams need a big three in order to win a title. When Bynum played for the Lakers, he had front court help from all-star Pau Gasol, averaging career highs of 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game. He certainly wouldn’t put up those numbers with help coming from Spencer Hawes, Arnett Moultrie, Kwame Brown and Lavoy Allen. All four are under contract and expected to be back next season.
Let’s not even mention 2013 draft pick Nerlens Noel, who the Sixers acquired for former All-Star Jrue Holiday. Noel is coming back from a torn ACL injury himself so it will take him time to recover. Athletes who have torn ACLs usually don’t recover entirely.
All signs are pointing Bynum’s departure, as well as the Sixers’ plan of cleaning house.