Andrew Bynum Hits All the Right Notes in 1st Philadelphia 76ers Appearance

Bryan ToporekFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2012

Andrew Bynum just aced his first test as the newest member of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Bynum and sharpshooter Jason Richardson were both introduced to fans Wednesday in an "open" press conference after having been traded to the Sixers last Friday in the massive four-team Dwight Howard blockbuster.

And the 200-plus fans in attendance were quick to vocalize their appreciation.

For Sixers fans who aren't yet swooning over the 24-year-old Bynum, do yourselves a favor and watch a replay of the press conference.

Bynum crushed it.

When asked about how he'll respond to being the No. 1 option in Philadelphia, Bynum said, "I'm looking forward to it, because it's the next step in my career, in my progression as a basketball player."

Then, he followed up with the first major whammy of the day.

"It's going to be a lot more exciting and a lot more fun to play knowing that everything's going to be run through you."

When asked about his reaction to being traded, Bynum looked around at the horde of fans at the press conference, then said, "From the looks of it, they came out in a big way to support us. It's amazing. I've actually never seen anything like this, to be honest, and I'm looking forward to seeing what it's gonna be like when we get a sold-out arena."

It's a miracle Sixers co-owners Adam Aron and Josh Harris didn't run over to kiss Bynum right then and there. Season tickets, anybody?

In a later question about the pressure of becoming the No. 1 option and being compared to Sixers greats such as Moses Malone, Bynum replied, "There is a pressure, but pressure makes diamonds."

Whammy No. 2.

He also noted that "coming from Laker Land," he was more than used to being compared to all-time great centers like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O'Neal.

Take that, Moses.

Then, after John Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer asked Bynum to address the health of his knees, Bynum gave a token "I feel great" response before immediately diving in, unprovoked, to address his upcoming procedure in Germany.

"I know everybody's anxious and wants to hear about Germany, so I'll address that," he said. "I talked with Kobe about it, he had the procedure done. Everything was fine with it. It just is a procedure that reduces inflammation."

Seeing as Bryant said he felt like "a 27-year-old again" after the procedure, from the sound of things, it's nothing to worry about.

If anything, it could make Bynum even more effective this upcoming season.

Had the press conference ended then and there, Sixers fans would have every reason to be excited about Bynum's long-term future in Philadelphia.

Then, Bynum outdid himself.

When asked about his upcoming free agency, Bynum said, "To be honest, my first experiences here have been so great, I'm really leaning towards making this my home."

The crowd exploded. His next sentence became nearly indecipherable thanks to the fans' roar.

One press conference doesn't guarantee anything, admittedly.

There's still nearly 11 months between now and the day Bynum will most likely make a move on his contract situation, one way or the other. A lot can happen in that time.

Bynum could decide he doesn't like being a No. 1 option or the face of a franchise. Doug Collins' coaching style could grate on him to the point of no return.

But on Wednesday, in his first Sixers appearance, Bynum hit all the right notes.

He couldn't have done much more to please fans, short of signing the contract extension right then and there.

While his contract situation remains unresolved, Bynum sounded on Wednesday like he's getting ready to settle down in Philadelphia for the long haul and become the cornerstone of the franchise.

In which case, general manager Rod Thorn's proclamation at the press conference may not be all that far off.

"It's obviously going to take some time because we've got a lot of new players, but we think we're ready to step up and play with anybody," Thorn said.

You hear that, Miami and Boston?