Andrew Bynum: Philadelphia 76ers' Risky Gamble on Star Center Will Backfire

Alex KayCorrespondent INovember 14, 2012

Oct 15, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Andrew Bynum (33) before the game against the Boston Celtics at the Wachovia Center. The Sixers defeated the Celtics 107-75. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

The Philadelphia 76ers went all-in on a major gamble this summer, swapping Andre Iguodala—in the Dwight Howard megatrade—for Andrew Bynum.

In doing so, the Sixers team brass gave up the face of the franchise—a player fresh off an Olympic appearance with incredible defensive abilities—for an injury-plagued, immature center who just wrapped up his first healthy campaign since 2006-07.

Bynum isn’t expected to suit up and start playing until January, and the team—which is off to a mediocre 4-3 start—would only have a few short months to make an impression on the 25-year-old New Jersey native.

Needless to say, with Iguodala on the floor helping to change the culture of the Denver Nuggets, this trade looks like an absolute disaster.

While the big man did say he was leaning toward making Philly his new home back in August, the backlash from fans is starting to pick up and frustrations are mounting with each loss that Bynum sits on the bench in a suit for.

Perhaps the main reason why the Sixers are having so much trouble is the lengths to which the team went to showcase their latest acquisition, leaving little depth or alternative options in the case of an injury.

Because the franchise gave up not only Iguodala this summer, but also lost second-year center Nikola Vucevic and prospect SF Maurice Harkless in the deal—plus used their amnesty provision on PF Elton Brand—they simply don’t have the size, depth or defensive prowess required to hang with the top teams in the NBA.

After an impressive opening-night win against Denver, the Sixers dropped two in a row to the Knicks, put together a three-game winning streak against the Anthony Davis-less New Orleans Hornets, tired Boston Celtics and undermanned Toronto Raptors, before falling to the Milwaukee Bucks.

Just imagine how much better off this team would be with Bynum starting and logging significant minutes at the 5 over a mediocre, hodge-podge platoon of Lavoy Allen and Spencer Hawes.

Inevitably, the 76ers are going to start getting beat badly inside and the cries for Bynum’s return will crescendo until he can make his return. If he doesn’t play at an All-Star level immediately, this fanbase is going to have no qualms turning on a player that they have no emotional (and little financial) investment in just yet. 

If that happens, don’t expect Bynum to hang around the City of Brotherly Love past the upcoming summer.