Originally written on Philly Sports World  |  Last updated 10/21/14
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Andrew Bynum’s talent is undeniable. And his acquisition by the Philadelphia 76ers was a no brainer. If you have the opportunity to pick up one of the best centers in the NBA, then you go for it. The Sixers did, and the rest is pretty much history. Or is it? Bynum will provide the Sixers with the size and star that they so sorely lacked in seasons past. Other key acquisitions, like Jason Richardson, Dorrell Wright and Nick Young give the Sixers the perimeter shooting that severely hampered their postseason run last year and their overall ability to be successful in the NBA. The holes on this team have been plugged. All of the head scratching moves that the Sixers made during free agency at least began to make some sense when the Bynum deal went down. But the question for me, is not about talent now, but rather about character. As we well know, Andrew Bynum has had his share of issues with behavior. He is notorious for taking plays off on the court, he has admitted in the past to giving less than max effort at times and has been seen in the past as a guy who isn’t the best teammate around. So is it smart for Sixers fans to believe that a change of scenery is going to change all of that? I’m not sure. The Sixers had a team made up of players that didn’t necessarily have the most talent, but they had a coach who most of the time pressed the right buttons and got every last drop of potential from his players. How else do you explain a rag tag bunch of players getting to within one game of the Eastern Conference Finals last year? Now the Sixers have some talent. The hope, of course, is that Andrew Bynum’s new role as THE Man on this team will correct a lot of the behavioral issues he’s had in the past. He’ll no longer play third fiddle to Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol. Now, instead of distancing himself from timeout huddles, he’ll have to be smack in the middle of them. Instead of watching Kobe throw up shot after shot, he’ll be the one taking at least a high percentage of those shots. That’s a lot of change and a lot of pressure. I’m not saying Bynum won’t be up to the challenge, we’ve already heard him use the pressure makes diamonds analogies, and a whole city is hoping that those diamonds materialize on a championship ring or two for the Sixers. Bynum undoubtedly said all of the right things in his introductory zoo of a press conference. I, like most Sixers fans want to believe that what he’s saying is true. I hope those issues are a thing of the past for Bynum, but I’m also a realist. Sometimes behaviors flare up at the most inopportune times. Sometimes, no matter how good of a fit a situation looks like, it just doesn’t work out how you hope. I said the trade was a no brainer, and I believe that to be true. As willing as the Sixers seem to be to lock Bynum up long term, I think they’d be better off waiting a little bit to see how all of this actually pans out on the court. Doug Collins, as much as I love him, hasn’t coached a player like Bynum. This could turn into another Larry Brown/Allen Iverson situation in the blink of an eye. Remember, for as much as those two loved each other, it was not always smooth going, and Doug Collins can be a pretty intense presence with his players. Some fans thought Collins lost the team in the second half of last year’s shortened season. So this does have the potential to be a disaster as much as it has the potential to be a coup for the Sixers. For me, the proof will be in the pudding. If Bynum proves himself, then lock him up. If he doesn’t, the Sixers will have a boatload of money to remake this team in the 2013-2014 season. Either way, it will be a win for the Sixers. It would be a bigger win, however, if the Sixers can make Bynum into the cornerstone of their franchise. Similar Posts:
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