The Philadelphia 76ers’ recent acquisitions of Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson not only give the team a face of the franchise (for at least this season) and a veteran shooter, but also allow them to add depth to their bench by moving various players out of the starting lineup.
Prior to the Sixers’ recent blockbuster deal, Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Andre Iguodala and either Spencer Hawes or Lavoy Allen would likely have made up the team’s starting lineup.
And don’t forget the newly signed Kwame Brown who, according to an article by John N. Mitchell on philly.com, would have started at center.
While this starting lineup would have kept the Sixers in contention for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the team’s best chance of improving on their seeding from last season likely would have rested on the newly obtained experience of its young roster rather than on their offseason acquisitions.
Then, along came a 7’0” All-Star and a career 14,000-point scorer.
By acquiring Bynum and Richardson, the Sixers have not only bolstered their starting lineup, but have also given their bench a boost after Lou Williams signed with the Atlanta Hawks.
Both Williams and current Sixer Thaddeus Young have come close to grabbing the Sixth Man of the Year award in recent seasons, and both helped the team outscore opponents by 192 points last season when they were on the court at the same time.
The Sixers could have entered this season with Young, Williams, Allen and newly acquired players in Nick Young and Dorell Wright as reserves and once again given the team one of the best benches in the NBA.
However, following Williams’ signing with the Hawks and the use of the amnesty clause on Elton Brand, the Sixers could have been forced to use either Allen of Hawes in the starting lineup and be left with just three out of their original five bench options.
But with Bynum and Richardson in the fold, and likely in the starting lineup this season, the Sixers’ bench now has a chance to match last season’s success and give the team a deeper rotation as they attempt to improve their seeding in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.
Not to mention, 76ers fans no longer have to endure sleepless nights while imagining Brown starting at center.
With Bynum and Richardson on the court, the Sixers will now have players such as T. Young, N. Young, Wright, whoever doesn’t start between Hawes and Allen, Brown, Arnett Moultrie and possibly Royal Ivey and/or Maalik Wayns as options off the bench.
Just as the starting lineup has received a boost, the bench has also gone from likely having a difficult time matching last season’s success to now having a chance to not miss a beat this season.
When Williams and Brand left, the Sixers lost two of their top five scorers from last season. Furthermore, prior to the trade, the team had little depth behind Holiday and Turner in the backcourt.
And with Brown as a question mark after playing in just nine games last season, the Sixers frontcourt still had room for improvement. The team must hope that Allen can match his performances from last season’s playoff series against the Boston Celtics, rather than his 4.1 PPG average during the regular season.
With Bynum, the Sixers now have a surplus of options in the frontcourt.
Besides their newly acquired All-Star, the Sixers still have four other players for the 4 and 5.
A recent article by Sam Amico on FoxSportsOhio.com mentions that this newly obtained depth in the frontcourt could lead to the Sixers attempting to trade either Hawes or Brown at some point this season.
One trade has taken the Sixers frontcourt from a position of question to a position that can now be dealt so as to acquire either a draft pick or other assets.
Additionally, the team’s acquisition of Richardson gives the Sixers the oldest player on their roster, at 31 years old.
With Richardson and Turner potentially in the lineup, scorers such as N. Young and Wright join T. Young and Moultrie in rounding out what could be a very versatile rotation for head coach Doug Collins.
The Sixers’ acquisition of Bynum and Richardson improves the starting lineup, gives the team a face of the franchise and provides optimism that a high seed in the Eastern Conference is within reach.
And, possibly even more importantly during a postseason run, it also gives the bench a chance to once again be the backbone of the team in a season that just got a whole lot brighter.
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