That’s right, Andrew Bynun was one of the most prominent figures in starting the Sixers off into their Process era. Ironically, without playing a single game, Bynum placed the Sixers in a position where their flaws were more recognizable than they’d ever been and the solution required drastic alteration. After all the bowling, the hair cuts and the injury updates that didn’t matter, we as Sixers fans can tip our hat to this man for starting the course. Or we could not, but you get the sentiment.
The Sixers Pre-Bynum Trade
41-41, .500, average, boring ,”Lavoy Allen is a core piece” were all the sad realities the Sixers were firmly entrenched in before the team made the trade for Andrew Bynum. Imagine if the late 2000’s Atlanta Hawks had a love child with a librarian who was an avid knitter. That was the aura of this Sixers team. Sure, there were some fun parts – the playoff run after Derrick Rose‘s ACL exploded, Lou Williams‘s game winner against the Miami Heat in the playoffs, and Evan Turner being amazing for 15 games. Yet, these victories were as shallow as they were short tenured. After Allen Iverson was traded, the team made it a goal to refute the bottom of the league and constantly prop themselves up as “playoff players” which was essentially 8th seed or, maybe if they exceeded expectation, a 7th seed! Wow, a 7th seed!
Players came in and became recognizable fan favorites. Williams was the rare leading scorer off the bench. Turner and Jrue Holiday were the young, promising prospects waiting the take the reins of the franchise. Thaddeus Young was the likable, hardworking bench forward always “turning garbage into gold.” But the constant was always Andre Iguodala. I want to stress this now – Andre is and has always been a great basketball player. The issue was he was asked to fill the shoes of Allen Iverson, a player he could not have had less in common with play style-wise. Because of this, the team was always set up around Iguodala as if he were a gifted scorer who could be the best player on a high level, play off team. The result was always average. Never bad or horrible – just never good enough for your mom or girlfriend to bring them up. That is the true measuring stick of how exciting a team is.
After a playoff run that was ended by the Celtics in a series they should have never been in, the Sixers had a summer full of questions. Do we bring back the team and make another run at it? Is this team actually a playoff team? That summer the Sixers took a plunge and didn’t look back. They took part in a multi team deal that landed Andre Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets, Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless to the Orlando Magic, and brought the man of the hour, Andrew Bynum, to Philadelphia. It was a huge move that showed the team realized their mediocre nature and wanted to put an end to it. The team was ready to move forward with a core of Holiday, Turner and Bynum and be the team to grow to dethrone the great Miami Heat. The future was as bright as it had ever been. If you’re laughing, just know I’m laughing with you.
The Sixers Post-Bynum Trade
The NBA season that followed is a little too painful to talk about in length so we’ll keep it brief. Bynum’s games played and the amount of fun had that season both stood starkly at a zero. Holiday was an All-Star but altogether, Bynum not playing a single game derailed any significance to his acquisition. Or so we thought. The Sixers, reeling from the devastation of a missed season of the man they gave up so much for, they knew they needed a direction. Enter Sam Hinkie.
Hinkie read the landscape of the team and realized that Bynum, and the move made for him, had left the team stripped of assets and any true strategy to compete for a championship. Hinkie then decided to get to the top of the hill, we need to fall down and fall hard. The plan thereafter came to be known as the process. The Process was a direct result of Bynum’s botched Sixers tenure as the team was finally in a position where they had to face themselves and realize: we are not good enough as an organization. Only the missed season by Bynum could put the organization in this basketball-existential mind state necessary for the reevaluation that led into the current Sixers tenure. Reverting to the years of mediocrity like the Sixers of old simply wasn’t in the cards and change was needed. Hinkie brought upon change in the most drastic and controversial way but the Sixers history and Bynum suggested it was much needed.
The Process is well known and well regarded amongst Sixers fan and for good reason. The boring 76ers finally had a little life, a reason to be excited, and a true direction. Without Andrew Bynum and his poor bowling form, who’s to say if the reality we’re in now would have ever existed. Without Bynum, there may never be a Joel “The Process” Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Markelle Fultz. We’re doing okay.