As in: Andrew Bynum.
You don’t have to be a reactionary, glass-half-full, gloom-monger to feel less than terrific about this.
For starters, the basket the Sixers have placed all their eggs in feels shaky enough about the condition of his already twice operated on knees that, at 24, he traveled to Germany to have an experimental procedure performed on them. This is the kind of Hail Mary usually reserved for injury-wracked washouts and aging, megalomaniacal,glory chasers. Not guys who weren’t of drinking age the last time we elected a president.
It’s also a problem because the Sixers are planning something of an offensive overhaul this season and the centerpiece of the overhaul is indisposed.
“We don’t want to be a two point jump shooting team. We want to be in the paint [and shooting] three,” Doug Collins told a group of reporters after Friday’s practice, outlining the strategic shift.
But if training camp is when you build a team, how do you build it without its foundation?
Jrue Holiday, for one, is sanguine about the problem of Bynum’s absence from camp. Practice or no, he said, a player of Bynum’s ilk can fit into any lineup: you don’t have to learn to play with a superstar.
“[I’ll] just throw it in to him and let him go to work,” the fourth-year guard said after Friday’s intersquad scrimmage. “If we need a bucket just throw it in and he can get to the line.”
But doesn’t chemistry count for something? The Sixers, a team of limited talent last season, jumped out to a fast start because, by the reckoning of most observers, they’d returned the same team from the previous year. While other squads were ironing out kinks, the Sixers hit the ground running. Aren’t the tables turned this year?
Holiday was dismissive of this. He said that, Bynum’s absence notwithstanding, the team has cohered.
“I actually think we’re doing pretty well with that. Team chemistry is good. Everybody here is competing…The pressure that we put on ourselves is probably more than people put on us.“
His coach had similar impressions. Collins acknowledged the Sixers will have to make certain adjustments when Bynum returns/arrives, but said they’re of a variety he’s eager to make.
“He’ll start drawing double teams. So that’ll be a little bit of an adjustment,” he grinned. “When he comes in and plays, we’ll play the same way.”
Collins also emphasized that the team is built to sustain losses. Even big ones.
“We feel like we’ve got tremendous depth…especially when you’ve got injuries, it allows you to play well.”
Let’s hope DC is spot on with that last quote.