The Philadelphia Sixers move in August to get involved in the 4-Team deal that sent Dwight “Superman” Howard (who had requested to be traded from Orlando) to the Los Angeles Lakers was the biggest move in a long time for the Sixers. Philadelphia traded their long-standing franchise centerpiece Andre Iguodala to Denver, and acquired the 7-Foot Center Andrew Bynum from Los Angeles. The move also gave the Sixers Jason Richardson, and saw them sending the raw talent Nik Vucevic, and high pick Moe Harkless to Orlando. This Blockbuster also saw a slew of other draft picks and players go to Orlando, who decided to end the long Dwight Howard saga and start anew. The deal had many parts, but let’s focus on the Sixers today.
Soon after the big move, Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson were introduced in a press conference at the historic Constitution Center in Philadelphia. The press conference was open to the public, so of course the “Philly Phaithful” trekked to see their new star for the first time. It was a very exciting event, and the fans chanted “ANDREW BYNUM! ANDREW BYNUM!” The focus of the chant, who only has one year on his contract, said “I’m really leaning towards making this (Philadelphia) my home.” The fans exploded in joy, and Bynum even got around to signing some items.
Then Andrew went to Germany to get a non-invasive knee procedure. The procedure was recommended to him by his former teammate, Kobe Bryant. Kobe said that the procedure “added a few years” to his career. So Bynum obliged. The treatment involved some blood being drawn from his knee, treated, and re-injected. Bynum apparently felt fine after the procedure, and was on track to begin training camp with his new team in early October.
The first day of training camp was media day, which is similar to picture day but with interviews. The Sixers announced they were holding Bynum from basketball activities for three weeks to maximize the effect of the treatment in Germany, and that Andrew had suffered a bone bruise while working out. This was not great news, as these three weeks were supposed to be when Andrew began to gel with his new teammates, and Coach Collins. But it was not the end of the world, as Bynum would be back for the season opener and have had a good week of practice beforehand.
At the opener, Andrew walked out of the tunnel smiling ear-to-ear in a suit vest, not in a uniform. He has been out all year so far, and no one, including Andrew, knew when he will finally hit the hardwood to play for the Sixers. The Sixers said that they would not play Andrew until he was 100% healthy and able to assume the role of the teams’ star. On November 12th, The team announced it would be at least five weeks until Bynum resumes practice, and up to another month until he actually plays in a game.
The Sixers are average in Bynum’s absence. They are coming off a sweep of a 3-Game sweep on a road trip taking them to New Orleans (who was without Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers), Boston (probably the best performance of the season for the Sixers), and Toronto (Sixers won the 2nd Quarter 32-7)! They just lost to Milwaukee, who got some lucky shooting. The lowly Detroit pistons were beneficiaries of a rare effortless performance by the guys.
The Sixers seem to have chemistry, but that can only take you so far. We saw last year’s team get lucky with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah out in their opening series against Chicago, which Philadelphia would have lost had those players been healthy. The team really seemed to come together vs. Boston. Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday really stepped up, and Lavoy Allen essentially shut down Kevin Garnett. The Sixers, who should have lost to the bulls, would have beaten the Celtics if they held on to a big 3rd quarter lead in game 1. They were even pretty close late in the deciding Game 7 until Rajon Rondo uncharacteristically hit a bunch of three pointers.
The team should not have even been there though. That is why they retooled in the offseason. Trading Andre Iguodala and letting go of Elton Brand, Lou Williams, Nick Vucevic, Jodie Meeks, and others. Philadelphia reloaded with shooters Dorell Wright, Nick Young, and Jason Richardson. In addition to acquiring Point Guards Royal Ivey and former Villanova star Maalik Wayns, the club brought in big men like Kwame Brown, Arnett Moultrie, and of course Andrew Bynum.
Lets imagine how the team will be once Bynum finally comes in.
Doug Collins says “when you have a dominant big man, you surround him with shooters.” The Sixers got a bunch of shooters once they had Bynum in hand. Bynum will command two or three defenders to help guard him, freeing up shots for the new shooters. When Bynum struggles, the team will most likely follow suit. Jrue and Evan need to really step it up and drive in these instances. Shooters will not get the same open shots when Turner and Holiday are the offensive focal point. That’s why, even as the team has managed to win more than half their games thus far, players like Dorell Wright and Nick Young have struggled to shoot like they are capable. The Sixers will make no noise in the playoffs unless Bynum is rolling.
The Sixers Importance Rankings
1A. Andrew Bynum’s Knees
1B. Andrew Bynum
1C. Andrew Bynum’s Hair (just kidding)
2. Jrue Holiday
3. Evan Turner
4.Dorell Wright and Nick Young (Together)
9. Royal Ivey or Maalik Wayns (However Collins plays them. Prefferably Wayns, but he is raw and Ivey has been Semi-Impressive)
11. Arnett Moultrie
This team in terms of the playoffs will not get far without Andrew Bynum in the Front court. Letting go of Andre Iguodala was a huge risk, but it was very neccesary and thought through. If Bynum’s Knees prove too big an obstacle or he shockingly decides to leave the team, the Sixers would be left with tons of Money. If he pans out, this team will be vaulted into the upper-echelon of the NBA, and continue to build a champion. Collins said that the team “Maxed out” last year, and was in need of some changes. He certainly got his wish.