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Is Philly a contender with Bynum?

August 15, 2012
By

 

Let me take the suspense out of this one…..no.

They do need a little bit more seasoning, but they’re definitely getting closer…..

As of today, the Philadelphia 76ers are still a young team that needs more time together in pressure situations like NBA playoff games. Nevertheless, they’re a top 4 team in the Eastern Conference. Philly is only a year or so behind the Pacers if you look at experience together. However, all that could change by next Spring.

In a couple of years, we may look back at the Dwight Howard trade and call Philadelphia the biggest winner. Depending on Dwight’s lower back and bi-polar mood about free agency, we may one day even refer to it as the Andrew Bynum trade.

 

The 76ers, as I had predicted during the lockout, put Andre Iguodala on the trading block all last season. Despite making this darn near public, to get an All-Star center in return was a coupe. I mean, there’s only 2 or 3 of those players in the entire league.

The fact that the Sixers led the division till about a month left in the 2012 season is shocking. They were 26th in the league in shots at the rim and nearly set an NBA record for fewest free throws attempted overall. They got very few good looks from 3-pt range and while only getting about 36 point per game in the paint. Andrew Bynum should help get all of these offensive categories more into line. Then, on defense, a team that thrived in the passing lanes can get even more aggressive with Drew back there to erase mistakes.

While Philadelphia may not be a “contender” just yet, I’m calling them the favorites to win the Atlantic Division…something they almost did last season. The days of Boston running the Atlantic may finally be over.

Since trading away Kendrick Perkins last year, the biggest weakness of the Celtics (other than age) has been their lack of beef in the middle. Kevin Garnett has said that he doesn’t want to play center anymore, despite the team leading Miami 3-2 in the conference finals just a few months back.

Meanwhile, General Manager Danny Ainge has done little this summer (drafting Fab Melo and signing Jason Collins) to change the Celtic pivot.

Philadelphia 76ers General Manager Rod Thorn, taking my advice, has done just about as much as you can to improve the center spot (adding Andrew Bynum, re-signing Spencer Hawes, signing Kwame Brown).

There are definitely Andrew Bynum doubters out there who say that he’s not a franchise player. They point to his emotional outbursts and oncourt pouting as signs of a “B level” star.

I disagree.

Drew’s attitude is exactly what makes him a franchise player. Nice guys finish last, and you have to be a little bit of dick if you want to be successful in this league. Even Tim Duncan and Grant Hill (coincidentally, former Orlando Magic targets) have a little mean streak in them.

Oh, and if Pau Gasol and his passive style can lead a team to the playoffs like he did ten years ago in Memphis then Andrew Bynum can certainly lead this already playoff-caliber team to greater heights.

GM Rod Thorn feels the same way, saying recently that “(Bynum) will be a focal point of what we do. He never was a focal point with the Lakers.”

Doc Rivers better start polishing up his zone defense. The Sixers are going inside next season…..a lot. The 2nd round series between Boston and Philly last season featured an inexperienced young team that couldn’t close in a halfcourt game down the stretch. Now, Doug Collins needs just call “five down” and punch it down in to Drew. Game over.

 

Collins may even choose to stick with his ‘Twin Towers’ prediction from a few weeks back. Starting two 7-footers may just end Boston’s season before it even begins. We all remember how the C’s started the season back in January.

Some of you Knicks fans out there may be clamoring that Carmelo’s Crew is now the team to beat…..maybe, but we’ve heard this track too many times. In Gotham, talent doesn’t seem to ever translate into wins on the court. In fact, NYK may even have less talent than they had a year ago. Sure, Tyson Chandler and Marcus Camby are great shot-blockers, but they’re better off the ball helping teammates. Andrew Bynum has proven to be able to score on both in the low post. They’re just too light to keep Drew out of the paint.

Doug Collins can go a number of different ways next season. He can go with a traditional lineup inside and have Thaddeus play SF, go huge with two 7-footers, or he can free up space for Bynum inside by having Young play the PF.

Either way, the Atlantic seaboard has been put on notice.

Let freedom ring.

{Extra Shot: Andrew Bynum was introduced as a member of the 76ers on Wednesday where he was greeted by 2,000 fans. Bynum is eligible to become a free agent next summer. “To be honest, man, my first experience here has been so great I’m really leaning toward making this my home,” Bynum said. The crowd, neddless to say, was geeked to hear this news.}

2012-13 Philadelphia 76ers roster

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2 Responses to Is Philly a contender with Bynum?

  1. Derwin on August 17, 2012 at 1:11 am

    We now have the starting center out east (sorry Roy), one of the better guard cores around, and Doug Collins. This could be special.

  2. WTF on October 2, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    N-O

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