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Bigger Disappointment to New Team, Jeremy Lin or Andrew Bynum?

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Bigger Disappointment to New Team, Jeremy Lin or Andrew Bynum?
USA TODAY Sports

The NBA saw a slew of marquee names change teams in the 2012 offseason, and two of the most disappointing acquisitions so far are Jeremy Lin and Andrew Bynum.

Lin hasn't been the franchise-changing floor general that the Houston Rockets hoped for, as his early-season performance has been less than convincing. 

Meanwhile, Bynum hasn't helped the Philadelphia 76ers at all due to his knee procedure and prolonged complications.

We knew that Lin was unlikely to be the next Steve Nash, and we also knew Bynum had a questionable health history, but both have fallen short of even moderate expectations.

So who is the bigger disappointment to his new team?

When Houston committed more than $25 million to Lin over the next three years, it did so with the intention that he'd provide a public relations boost and on-court production.

More than a month into the 2012-13 campaign, Lin hasn't been nearly as productive as general manager Daryl Morey would have hoped. Not only are his points (11.3) and assist (6.0) averages down from 2011-12, but his shooting percentages are also poor: 41 percent from the field, 30 percent from distance.

Photo via ESPN Stats & Info

These inefficiencies are largely due to his shift in usage from 2011-12. With James Harden in the fold, Lin becomes a more peripheral piece, allowing Harden to handle the ball. Lin then struggles as a spot-up player (39 percent shooting on spot-up attempts).

Data suggests that this setup is hurting the Rockets, as Lin and Harden are part of Houston's most ineffective lineup combination.

But when Lin has the reins to the offense or Harden is absent altogether, good things often happen, such as Houston's 126 points against the Spurs (38 of which were Lin's).

It's up to Kevin McHale to make an adjustment for Lin to be more of a facilitator. We don't know what the long-term results would be, but Houston must find a way to make this Lin-Harden marriage work.

The point is that Lin's woes aren't all his fault, and they are fixable to some degree.

Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Bynum's situation is inherently different, and the outlook for the future is less certain.

When the Philadelphia 76ers partook in the Dwight Howard mega-trade, they willingly gave up Andre Iguodala, Nikola Vucevic and Moe Harkless in order to get Bynum and Jason Richardson.

They hoped Bynum would anchor the paint for the future. Instead, he hasn't seen the court yet, and his left knee could prevent the Sixers from signing him to an extension.

After an early-autumn treatment for his arthritis, it looked like it would just be a matter of weeks before Bynum would be on the floor and dominating the paint for Doug Collins' crew.

A bowling-induced setback and nerve-wracking revelation served to change the complexion of the situation.

Bynum recently admitted that he suffered a setback while bowling, and more importantly, he revealed to reporters that there's cartilage missing in his knee. The long-term risk immediately multiplied.

ESPN First Take doesn't always get it right, but they supplied great perspective on Bynum's worsening situation. This clip includes Skip Bayless' statement that a Sixers source told him that "Bynum's knees are shot."

If the situation is indeed that bleak, then Philadelphia turned out to be the big loser in the Howard trade.

They gave up resources to acquire someone who won't play for the majority of the season and whose long-term health is in doubt.

Bynum might give Philly some decent minutes during the last few months of the season, but he won't see a contract extension.

Considering that he hasn't helped on the court yet and his knee probably foiled the club's plans, Bynum has been a bigger disappointment than Lin.

 

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