The Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia 76ers were long rumored to be entertaining the idea of swapping dynamic wing players Monta Ellis and Andre Iguodala (per ESPN).
Although those rumors failed to come to fruition, the teams did part ways with their former faces of the franchise. And both teams willingly rolled their respective dice on potentially great, but injury-prone, big men in Andrew Bogut and Andrew Bynum.
Through the early stages of the 2012-13 NBA regular season, both gambles thus far appear to have been no more than bad bets.
Bynum, still recovering from a bone bruise on his right knee, has failed to log a single minute with the 76ers. His long-awaited debut sounds even longer away now that Philadelphia GM Tony DiLeo has confirmed that there is no timetable for his return (via USA Today).
Comparably, the Warriors have been the more fortunate of the two franchises. They at least managed to get 73 minutes over four games from Bogut. But with new reports stating that his ankle surgery was more serious than previously reported, Golden State has also entered a period of uncertainty. Like the 76ers, the Warriors lack a timeframe for their center's return (via ESPN.com).
Up until now, both franchises have done an admirable job with their on-the-fly fixes (both clubs are 9-6). But assuming the worst for these franchises, which club is better prepared to fill their unexpected vacancies?
It'd be hard to argue that the Warriors will have the tougher time filling this void.
The 76ers were aware of Bynum's injury history but were excited about adding a 25-year-old franchise center fresh off of the best season of his NBA career.
The Warriors, meanwhile, were gambling on a resurgence from the 28-year-old Bogut. He was three years removed from his career season of 2009-10, and even that year lacked the production of Bynum's 2011-12 campaign.
Golden State's roster also features more similar players to Bogut than Philadelphia's does to Bynum. Warriors rookie Festus Ezeli has provided the intimidating physical presence that the team thought they had added with Bogut. Coach Mark Jackson has been cautious with the rook's minutes, but the Vanderbilt product has produced in limited action (4.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 16.9 minutes).
Jackson's also had the luxury of easing Ezeli into the fold given the strong play of free-agent addition Carl Landry. The five-year veteran has emerged as an unlikely closer for Golden State, but he hasn't saved all of his production for crunch time. His 57.9 field-goal percentage ranks fourth among all players with at least 100 field-goal attempts.
Philadelphia has found its own capable replacements, but none have been nearly the interior presence that Bynum would have been. Spencer Hawes has the shot-blocking ability(1.3 per game) but lacks the rebounding (5.4) or physical play. Kwame Brown has the size (6'11", 270 lbs) but has never been great on the glass or challenging shots.
In addition, Bynum will hold more two-way responsibilities when he's healthy enough to return. While Jrue Holiday has been special this season (18.5 points and 9.1 assists), coach Doug Collins has clearly lacked a reliable second offensive option.
Bogut figured to be the centerpiece of Jackson's defensive game plan, but the Warriors didn't need Bogut to be a scorer, not with Stephen Curry (18.5 points per game), David Lee (17.4) and Klay Thompson (15.4) on board.
Both teams would love to have their big men out of the trainers' room and onto the court. But Golden State will have an easier path to postseason play if both players continue to miss games.
All statistics used in this article are accurate as of 2012-13.