With the addition of Andrew Bynum, it's easy for Philadelphia 76ers fans to get excited and immediately call themselves championship contenders. However, with all of the excitement and anticipation, little has been said about exactly how he will carry them.
First off, quality at the center position in the Eastern Conference is scarce. Now that Dwight Howard is a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, the competition has dwindled even more and Bynum becomes the consensus number one center in the East.
Over the last two seasons in the playoffs, the Sixers continually were being outplayed on the boards and never had a true big man presence to help fix this. Well, times have changed, to say the least.
Who will be able to consistently outplay Bynum? Tyson Chandler? Roy Hibbert? Brook Lopez? (That's a good one.) All joking aside, Bynum needs to fulfill this expectation of being the number one center.
Nonetheless, for now we can acknowledge that the Sixers have the most dominant center in the Eastern Conference. No big deal.
For the past couple years the Sixers have been a small team who would struggle in the low-post both offensively and defensively because they didn't have anyone who could get the job done.
Bynum needs to be that guy who can step up and take over the paint. Philadelphia has lacked a number one guy to consistently rely on to carry the team in crunch time.
He has the ability and he needs to follow through with it. He needs to posit leadership.
Can Bynum bring the Sixers over the hump?
Furthermore, Bynum primarily has opened up possibilities for their offense. He attracts defenders and thus opens the floor for his teammates.
When looking at the starting lineup alone, this helps Spencer Hawes and the shooters (which ever they choose to start) in particular.
We saw how Bynum complemented Pau Gasol in Los Angeles. Bynum was his productive self last year, averaging 18.7 points and 11.6 rebounds per game while Gasol averaged 17.4 points and 10.4 rebounds.
Gasol would flash to the high post, shoot mid-range jumpers, help distribute the ball and have a size advantage against most power forwards. Hawes would play the exact same role and have the same size advantage.
Bynum needs to elevate Hawes' game the same way he did with Gasol.
Now, this isn't to say that Hawes will produce as well as Gasol. But considering that duo accomplished that much production playing next to Kobe Bryant, it's hard not to believe that Bynum will do better and Hawes will improve playing alongside him.
As for the shooters, having Bynum in the post just takes off pressure and leaves the perimeter more open. Jason Richardson, Nick Young, and Dorell Wright together have posted a career three point percentage of 37.2 percent. The environment could not be any better for them.
It's also important to note that having Bynum allows Doug Collins to play Thaddeus Young more at power forward, as Young's size becomes less of a liability with Bynum next to him.
Bynum truly brings a lot to the table for the Sixers. He allows them to do things they couldn't do before and maximizes everyone's strengths. He has the ability to do all of these things and get them over the hump.
The benefits are all there for the taking. It's just a matter of following through with his potential.