Andrew Bynum heading to Philadelphia has caused a lot of anticipation for this upcoming season, along with high expectations for Bynum to carry the 76ers by himself.
Obviously, the excitement forms bias in our opinions on him as we enter the season, but anticipation aside, is it not premature to immediately assume Bynum can carry this team alone? After all, you do know what they say about assumption, right?
Don't get me wrong. I love Bynum and everything he brings to the table, and this was definitely a huge step in the right direction for the organization.
However, with all of this coming at fans so fast, it is vital that we slow things down and assess everything individually.
The easy way for fans to think is to claim Bynum as the best center in the Eastern Conference and rejoice about how they finally have a legit big man, the likes of which they have not seen since Moses Malone.
But considering he has not played a game in a Sixers uniform, it is hard to give him the title of the guy who can carry a team.
He may have the skill-set of a number one guy, but he lacks the intangibles of a leader.
Bynum has exposed himself in the past as capable of stepping out of line and losing control of his emotions on the court. Even though he was not given the opportunity in Los Angeles to be the leader, he has yet to put forth any real leadership qualities.
But let's return to his skill-set and his self-monopoly on centers in the East. Even though he is undoubtedly the best center in the conference, the competition as a whole between teams is higher than ever.
Dwight Howard, who most accept as a better player than Bynum, led the Magic to the Finals just once. It could be argued that the Sixers have a better supporting cast than Howard did, but the competition level is the striking force that keeps this as a legitimate concern.
It is also important to note that Bynum is entering a completely different environment. He still needs to adapt to Doug Collins' system. Considering the starting frontcourt is still regarded as an experiment, the system will not be completely in-tact until the season has gotten underway.
On top of this, Bynum needs to develop chemistry with the team. He needs to learn how his teammates play and adapt to complement their strengths.
He is at this stage now. Carrying a team by himself comes later (if it does at all), and at the age of 24 it is safe to say that he's still learning about the game as a whole.
Again, by no means am I trying to criticize Bynum or this trade. The Sixers should have made the trade and we should all be more than satisfied with the results. Though when we get ahead of ourselves and start assuming Bynum can carry the team by himself is quite premature. Not to mention, he is injury prone and entering the season recovering form surgery.
Nothing is worse for sports fans than false hopes, and Philadelphia has been more victimized by this any other city in recent history.
Does he make the team better? Of course he does. Is he the most talented big man in the East? You better believe it. But to already conclude that he can lead this team? It sounds nice, but in reality it is premature.
He may find the ability to do so in the long run, but for now, we will just have to wait and see before any more assumptions can be made.
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