From the moment the Philadelphia 76ers acquired Andrew Bynum this summer, the ravenous fans of Philadelphia made it known just how pleased they were to have one of the league's best young centers in town.
It started with a bang, as the Sixers introduced Bynum in a press conference open to the public at the city's National Constitution Center. Bynum was showered with praise from the fans who will pack the seats at the Wells Fargo Center this season.
Bynum's arrival gives the Sixers their first true star since Allen Iverson, and he has made it clear he wants his relationship with the fans and the team to be one that's fit for the long-term. Bynum made his intentions clear at that press conference nearly one month ago, according to Chris Branch of the Courier-Post Online, saying, “I’m leaning towards making this my home,” Bynum said, referring to signing a long-term contract in Philadelphia.
Bynum's trials and tribulations in Los Angeles have been well documented, and they don't require much rehashing at this point. Yes, he grew frustrated due to a lack of touches, and surely his role as the second and sometimes third scoring option behind Kobe Bryant made things that much more frustrating as he realized his talents were evolving.
However, Bynum is currently in a good place, and his elation was evident through his tone at his introductory press conference. While many stars would rather join an established group of players who are ready to compete for a title right away, Bynum sees an opportunity to build a franchise around his talents, and along with the right complementary pieces, eventually see them evolve into a title contender.
The Philadelphia sports media and fans alike have received marks as one of the tougher groups to impress, but as we've seen in the past, it doesn't take a whole lot to please them.
What fans in Philadelphia really cherish more than anything from their athletes is courage, determination and physically showing their will to win on a nightly basis. Just look at beloved Philadelphia heroes like Brian Dawkins, Allen Iverson and Chase Utley.
Philadelphians love players who exemplify the blue-collar nature of the city. If Bynum is able to shed the bits of Tinseltown that rubbed off on him, he will quickly realize what he needs to do to please both the fans and the journalists who will be following his each and every move.
Bynum is expected to post numbers somewhere in the range of 20 points and 10 rebounds per game, and those numbers are absolutely feasible given the situation he's found himself in. With a great cast of role players around him, Bynum will be the focal point of an offense that is now fully capable of stretching the floor with a variety of shooters and versatile weapons.
Should the Sixers struggle through the first few weeks of the season, fans will undoubtedly get a bit anxious; it's a long season, though, and Bynum and the new-look roster will eventually stabilize.
While it's expected that it will take a little time for all of the Sixers' new pieces to jell, any semblance of instant success for Bynum will be accompanied with rousing applause from the fan base.
Scrutiny will accompany the praise showered on Bynum, but if he wants to start shaping his individual legacy, he will have to do so by achieving success in Philadelphia, where he will be met with overwhelming support.