Sixers Land All-Star Andrew Bynum
Andrew Bynum, the 24-year-old All-Star center, is on his way from Los Angeles to Philadelphia in a four-team deal that will see the Sixers send forward Andre Iguodala to the Denver Nuggets and forward Maurice Harkless, center Nikola Vucevic, and a protected first-round pick to the Orlando Magic; Philadelphia also acquires swingman Jason Richardson from Orlando as part of the deal.
The move fills the team’s paramount need – one that became evident during the Sixers’ fairytale 2012 postseason run. As head coach Doug Collins sat at the podium following that infamous Game Seven loss to the Boston Celtics, he was frank about what his team needed most moving forward.
“Our inability to score is what plagued us all season long,” admitted Collins.
With the überskilled Bynum now manning the middle for the Sixers, that deficiency may become an advantage.
In 2011-12, the 7-foot, 285-pound center was the only player in the NBA to average more than 17 points (18.7 in Bynum’s case) on fewer than 13.4 field goal attempts per game. Indeed, playing alongside prolific scorers Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol forced Bynum to make the most of limited scoring opportunities during his time with the Lakers. In Philly, he’ll likely be the team’s first option on offense, and deservingly so.
Bynum has one of the most diverse offensive games in the league. With his monstrous frame, he is able to consistently establish – and maintain – deep position against the league’s top centers. But what really sets him apart from the other bigs around the league is what he can do once he gets the ball in his hands. Of course, like any good big man, he uses his sheer size to overpower smaller players and produce easy looks under the basket, but he also utilizes textbook footwork, an array of effective post moves, and a consistent, ambidextrous hook shot to demoralize his opponents.
However, Bynum is not simply an offensive weapon. Some say his best work is done on the glass, where he averaged the third-most rebounds (11.8) in the league last season – behind Dwight Howard (14.5) and Kevin Love (13.4).
The two-time NBA Champion is also one of the league’s top post defenders, using his freakish strength and 7-6 wingspan to punish opposing bigs around the rim. His 1.9 blocks per game over the last two seasons is good for sixth-best in the league.
The Sixers now have the best center in the Eastern Conference for perhaps the first time since 1986, the final year of Moses Malone’s Philly career; the Hall of Fame big man averaged 23.9 points and 13.4 rebounds over four seasons in Philadelphia.
With a young core of Jrue Holiday (22), Evan Turner (23), Lavoy Allen (23), Thaddeus Young (24), Spencer Hawes (24), and now Andrew Bynum (24), the Sixers have set themselves up brilliantly for the future, while improving in the short-term, as well.
It’s an exciting time to be a 76er fan.
Now, the hard part will be waiting patiently until October to see it all come together when Bynum steps onto the court at Wells Fargo Center wearing Sixers red, white, and blue.
Update: 5:27 PM, August 10, 2012
Update: 2:11 PM, August 11, 2012
During Saturday afternoon's 2012 Summer Olympic broadcast on NBC, anchor Dan Patrick offered a few nuggets about Friday's blockbuster four-team deal.
"What happened (according to Sixers head coach Doug Collins) was that the Denver Nuggets saw Andre Iguodala play for Team USA in the Olympics, and it convinced them to get involved in the trade," said Patrick.
Collins, who provides commentary for NBC's men's basketball coverage at the Olympics, also told the Emmy-winning sportscaster that the deal was the culmination of "close to six months" of posturing, cap management, and discussions.
-Posted: 2:03 PM, August 10, 2012