Certainly, Philadelphia, like most other cities lately, has been bombarded with a bunch of coal at the center position – instead of the precious diamonds that shined in places like Orlando (Dwight Howard), San Antonio (Tim Duncan), and even Houston (Yao Ming) for a time.
A generation of 76ers basketball was depleted of interior dominance.
But, in the perfect tale of basketball novelty, there could be no one better to rectify this problem then the nearly native son, Andrew Bynum.
When Dikembe Mutombo (the last solid true center the Sixers roster could boast) left town, Bynum was barely an adolescent. Now, it is a 24 year old Bynum who can possibly fill a wide stretching empty space in the paint for this franchise.
As part of ESPN.com’s #NBArank project, Bynum was recently ranked as the 13th best player in the NBA. That’s a pretty strong showing for a youngster who has been injured frequently and has yet to come close to realizing his full potential. Yet, what’s more impressive is that Bynum is undoubtedly underappreciated and underrated by ESPN.com’s experts. Consider for a moment that he was the 3rd offensive option on Kobe’s championship contending teams and that he was in general disgruntled with the environment in LA and you should realize that Bynum has a legit chance to be ranked among the Top 10 players in the League after the upcoming season.
As the centerpiece for DC’s new inside-out offense, Bynum should be a complete force with the Sixers as he will actually see plays run for him. It’s an offensive attack that has not been seen under the Doug Collins’ coaching tenure in Philadelphia as in previous seasons the Sixers have been forced to play on the break and/ or perimeter oriented basketball, with, of all things, a poor shooting team. It was only through defense, youth, and giving a passionate effort every night that the 7-6 were able to succeed at all over the last few seasons.
Ultimately, with more touches and DC’s guidance, Bynum should terrorize the Eastern Conference centers, who can only boast the likes of Tyson Chandler and Roy Hibbert. Bynum, in the end, will probably have a better season than ((brace yourselves)) “Superman” himself, Dwight Howard did last year.
Now, not only do the Sixers have that big shiny toy in the middle, they’ve accompanied Bynum with shooters like Jason Richardson, Dorell Wright and Nick Young. That, in addition to Evan Turner’s and Jrue Holiday’s penetration, will cause defensive headaches for opponents. That doesn’t even include the other weapons like the versatile Thaddeus Young who will continue to create match-up problems for opponents.
What’s the point?
To be frank, Bynum is going to be lethal in 2012-13. He will score, pass and rebound. It sounds simple enough, but it’s critical to have a presence like Bynum, who can make the simple, simply dynamic.
Of course, only time will tell. But don’t be surprised, in late winter, if the Sixers have finally and absolutely found the answer to their center woes and Bynum has begun to emerge as the best center in the League.
Who knows by the end of 2012-13 he may even command a spot among ESPN.com’s Top 10 players in the NBA.