A disappointing season is not always something to frown upon, especially when a team is missing their best player. The Philadelphia 76ers, sitting at a disappointing record of 16-23, can definitely relate to the idea with Andrew Bynum.
Bynum brings many skills to the table as a basketball player: he provides great size, is extremely athletic, has great post-moves, and anything else you expect from a great center. But more importantly, he will apply these abilities to areas where the Sixers need help.
It was announced earlier this week that Bynum is seeking to return around the All-Star break. Obviously this is good news for the Sixers and their fans considering they have been waiting all year for his return. But additionally, the fans and the team will realize the facets they have been missing out on all season.
Fact: Last season Bynum averaged nearly 12 rebounds per game while playing next to Pau Gasol.
The Sixers, who currently rank 23rd in rebounds per game, have had glaring problems at rebounding this year on both ends of the court. An obvious explanation is, "Well, it's expected when Thaddeus Young is the leading rebounder and Spencer Hawes is their most significant big man." And perhaps this is the only explanation.
However true this may be, it does not really matter when you add Bynum to the equation. One, because Bynum automatically brings at least ten rebounds per game. Secondly, Young, Hawes and even Evan Turner become instant complements.
Asking complementary role players to do more than what should be expected has been an idea that the Sixers have struggled with over the last decade. Bynum's ability not only solves what seems to be a never resolved conflict, but he also brings his own rebounding capabilities that will always match up or override the competition.
Nothing hurts more than seeing the Sixers getting constantly beat in the paint by opposing big men.
The Sixers defense as a whole has taken a huge step back from last season, now ranking 16th in the league in points allowed per game compared to last year where they ranked third.
In fact, in five of their last six games, the opposing team has scored at least 100 points.
In fairness, the Sixers are actually defending the paint rather well as they rank sixth in the league in points allowed in the paint per game. However, with Bynum added to the picture it can only help. Also understand that right now everyone tries to help out down-low which can at times leave the perimeter wide open for other teams.
With Bynum, the Sixers would have the consistent reliable force to defend the paint they need.
This is something Bynum's presence alone can bring to the table simply from his talent.
While he is not physically doing what a point guard does in making plays, he draws attention from the defense, and in most cases, a double-team. When this happens, somebody is always left unguarded.
The Sixers have legit three point shooters in Jason Richardson, Dorell Wright, Nick Young and even guys like Evan Turner and Jrue Holiday are hitting three-pointers often. Any chance to develop rhythm at the three point line can potentially win a team a game or bring them back from a deficit.
With Bynum on the court, the perimeter is bound to be open on every double-team he attracts. And so what if Bynum does not draw the double-team? Well, I have full confidence in him ceasing any one-on-one opportunity.
This was probably the number-one trait of Bynum that Sixers fans craved the most for along with the rest of his offensive production down-low.
Sixers fans miss Moses Malone because he was the last guy they had who excelled in the paint. The nostalgia has only added up since the Sixers have needed someone who can pound the in the paint and finish strong.
In fact, the Sixers currently rank 26th in the league in points in the paint.
Luckily for them, Bynum can fix this with apparent ease. His size and athleticism allow him to excel here along with his over the top skill-set in the post.
Holiday is already having a great year, yet some believe that when Bynum returns, Holiday's production will decrease. However, Bynum has just as much potential to complement Holiday. Specifically, in the pick-and-roll situations.
The option he provides for Holiday is one he has never really seen in his career, which is essentially a legit big man to consistently feed the ball. Plus, considering that defenses are starting to focus on Holiday, Bynum will take a lot of the pressure away from him, which will help him make plays and score more often.
Despite what some may believe diminish Holiday's production, could actually end up making it even better.