Philadelphia 76ers: Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson Make Sixers Contenders

Ezra Skobeloff@zscoby43Correspondent IAugust 10, 2012

Andrew Bynum makes the 76ers big players in the East
Andrew Bynum makes the 76ers big players in the EastJayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Philadelphia 76ers fans, it's time to rejoice. The additions of Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson are franchise-changing.

Doug Collins once said that his goal coming to Philadelphia was to make the Sixers relevant in this town again. He accomplished that; now they are relevant to any fan of the NBA.

After completing their part in the conclusion of the Dwight Howard saga, the Sixers immediately become contenders in the Eastern Conference.

Are they in the same class as the Miami Heat? Certainly not. But with the continued development of Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner, these Sixers could soon be neck-and-neck with the Chicago Bulls for the answer to: "Who is the next-best team in the East?"

Now, detractors might think I'm crazy, and I am—but for completely different reasons that have nothing to do with this article.

The fact of the matter is, the Sixers now have the second-best center in the NBA in an era where truly elite centers are few and far between.

Philadelphia's biggest weaknesses heading into this offseason were their lack of a post presence, three-point shooting and a natural scorer.

They have solved all of those problems in one great trade.

Andrew Bynum, at the ripe age of 24, has a tremendous inside game that almost no other center in the league possesses. Jason Richardson will come in and be a good veteran presence and, oh yeah, bring his natural scoring abilities.

If you consider these two players infused into this Sixers squad, you have (on paper) a tremendous inside-out game.

Picture this: Holiday throws the ball to Bynum on a number of possessions, does work down low and proves that one-on-one defense will not work.

The opposition adjusts and doubles Bynum, at which point he gets the ball outside and the Sixers find an open J-Rich for three, a cutting Evan Turner for an easy layup or a wide-open Holiday for a jumper.

My mind is racing.

Including their additions in the offseason leading up to this evening, the Sixers' frontcourt now looks as follows:

  • Andrew Bynum: 7'0", 285 lbs
  • Spencer Hawes: 7'1", 245 lbs
  • Kwame Brown: 6'11", 270 lbs
  • Arnett Moultrie: 6'10", 230 lbs
  • Lavoy Allen: 6'9", 225 lbs

Once a size disadvantaged team, the Sixers now have an overwhelming size advantage over any other team in the East.

There are still questions that need answers, however.

Andre Iguodala may not have been the centerpiece of a contending team, but he's an Olympian for a reason. His defense is incredible and his playmaking ability will be missed. I am sad to see Iggy go, but in a state of shock that the Sixers actually got Andrew Bynum.

As mentioned above, this team needs its young guns to continue to grow, but the Sixers now have a strength that no other team possesses.

Is it training camp yet?


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