Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Bynum Bubble

So after having a couple of days to think things over, here's where I am with the Sixers' getting the second-biggest prize in the Dwight Howard Sweepstakes.

Circumspect. Quiet. Even, dare I say, tactful.

You see, Andrew Bynum is either:

a) no worse than the second-best center in the NBA, and the clear best in the East, with 20-10 potential on the offensive end and shot-blocking prowess on the defensive end, while still being on the upswing of his career, or

b) an injury-prone space case with suspect efficiency in the low block due to turnover and black hole issues, and a locker room cancer to boot.

When, in fact, he's (c)... some unknown combination of the two, while being

(d) A New Jersey native who might take well to being close to home and adored by a fan base that hasn't had a center this good since, well, Moses Malone and the franchise's last championship, and

(e) a free agent to be with no reason to extend his contract, unless he just wants to get the most money, since the Sixers have his rights.

Oh, and in case you aren't tired of this yet, he's also

(f) The guy who is going to do more for the development of Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner and Thad Young because he's going to open up cutting and passing lanes while giving them the opportunity to not have to go get rebounds for a deficient center, unless he's

g) The ballstop who will end the team's routinely beautiful unselfishness and lack of turnovers, which is how a team without startling talent was able to get to a Game Seven in the Round of Eight last year, anyway.

My own opinion of where Bynum shakes out in all of this is that Doug Collins is too good of a coach, and too old of one as well, to ride this guy too hard in minutes, or to be too much of a hard ass on him for his foibles. Remember, Collins loved Lavoy Allen last year, amid press reports that Allen cares only slightly more about the NBA than he does about gum. If Bynum can get that same sort of safe conduct (note that Turner did not), maybe he flourishes here.

Secondly, so long as Bynum is suiting up here, we go from 40 to 60 minutes a night of Spencer Hawes and Kwame Brown to something like 20 to 30; if that doesn't translate to more wins, I don't know what will.

Third, let's not forget what Bynum is trading in here. Unlike last year, when he had chucklehead Mike Brown at coach, Kobe Bryant jacking up shots at his worst percentages since he was a teenager, Pau Gasol not figuring how to live with him and the usual LA Circus-Circus... here he's going to have set lineups, a sane coach, a fan base that will be willing to worship if he comes to play, and the cupcakes of the Eastern Conference to make sure that every game (well, OK, every game except Miami) is center-relevant. And he avoids Howard, and the sprint schedule.

I think the move gets the Sixers to 50-32, an Atlantic Division crown, a first-round home-court win against a pretender (Brooklyn, Boston or New York all qualify), and then a step up in class against Miami, Chicago or Indy.

And if they can get past that second round, somehow?

Well, there won't be any worry about Bynum staying, or the town being all-in for him, or (b), (d) or (f) being true, or at the very least....

Said out loud. Because Bynum might, you know, hear about it...

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