Are Philadelphia 76ers Experiencing Buyer's Remorse with Andrew Bynum?
The Sixers are learning that the All-Star center's knees are bad and he's not always in a rush to get/keep them up to snuff.
Two years ago, Bynum put off much-needed knee surgery after the Lakers' NBA Finals triumph over the Boston Celtics so that he could attend the World Cup in South Africa. This time around, Bynum waited until September to return to Germany for the same blood-spinning therapy that he, Kobe Bryant and Alex Rodriguez had previously pioneered.
As a result, Bynum is scheduled to miss the entirety of the Sixers' preseason slate, if not a few games that actually count thereafter, to rest his knees, per Tom Moore of phillyBurbs.com.
Furthermore, according to John N. Mitchell of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Bynum will receive another injection of Synvisc-One to treat the osteoarthritis in his right knee prior to the start of the season.
Which, understandably, has some folks wondering whether the gamble Philly took on 'Drew in facilitating Dwight Howard's flight to L.A. isn't already biting the team in the behind.
Bynum was bound to be an odd fit with the Sixers, regardless of how soon he'd be able to step onto the floor. Doug Collins' club was arguably better equipped to succeed with a low-post scorer like Bynum before it severed ties with Elton Brand, parted ways with Lou Williams and brought in the likes of Nick Young and Dorell Wright.
'Drew aside, the Sixers are built to run. Their roster features an abundance of guards and wings, most notably Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner, who can force turnovers on the perimeter and make hay in transition.
How Bynum factors into that equation is unclear, and his prolonged absence can only delay the discovery and institution of a satisfactory solution. Surely, asking a big guy with knee problems like Bynum to run—especially when he wasn't particularly swift afoot in the first place—doesn't make a ton of sense for the Sixers.
Not that his mere presence won't help plenty in the half court. He's one of only a handful of pivots in the NBA today to whom a team can dump the ball and expect to come away with points.
How many games will Andrew Bynum play in this season?
The problem with Bynum, as always, will be making sure he's present to begin with—physically, mentally and otherwise. Last season marked the closest to a full campaign that Bynum had played since his sophomore season, when he appeared in 82 games for the Lakers. If not for a four-game suspension to start the 2011-12 season, as penance for pummeling J.J. Barea in the 2011 playoffs, 'Drew might've nearly seen time in all 66 of L.A.'s regular-season tilts.
But such was the case with Bynum in Lakerland. The specter of injury was constant, and if his body wasn't bogging him down, his mind probably would be.
How else do you explain a player who goes for 30 rebounds one game and comes up with "just" eight the next? A player who launches three-pointers against his coach's wishes and is prone to "getting [his] Zen on" during in-game timeouts.
The hope for the Sixers is that a change of scenery will inspire Bynum to take his game to another level. Granted, last season's stats (18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.9 blocks) were nothing to sneeze at.
But that was as the second option in L.A., with Kobe launching jumpers and Pau Gasol getting touches from time to time. Bynum's numbers should only improve as he grows into a role as the go-to guy in Philly.
They'll certainly have to if the Sixers are to take full advantage of their newest asset and take another step up in the Eastern Conference. Should Bynum fail to deliver, be it on account of his knobby knees or his meandering mind, it won't take long for his narrative to shift from that of a savior-son of New Jersey to that of another pariah to be pushed out.
And don't think fans in the City of Brotherly Love won't turn on Bynum in a heartbeat. Just ask Santa Claus about how loving and welcoming sports fans in Philly can be.
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