Being a Devil’s Advocate for the 76ers

Andrew Bynum is dancing the offseason away in Spain.I remember being in Wildwood the day the 76ers traded for Andrew Bynum, I remember being told it went through by the guy working at Sam’s Pizza (the best pizza in Wildwood by the way), I also remember the tingle of excitement I felt when I heard it actually happened.  Now as I sit here, tingle-less; the last word you can use to describe any single part of last season is “excitement”.

I know a lot of people don’t watch the 76ers, and could care less if Big Bird played center for them but the city was fired up to have Bynum here.  They were happy to finally have Andre Iguodala out of town, happy to have some fresh faces in 76ers blue, and happy to have the big man everyone has wanted since Todd MacCulloch hung them up.  By the start of December the 76ers were 10-6, and had just a week before December 1st taken the Thunder to OT and almost beat them.  Andrew Bynum was going to be back soon, everything was going to click, and we were months away from a first round home playoff series, a series they should win.  Then we hit February 1st, and the 76ers sat at 20-26 AFTER winning 2 in a row, no one knew when Bynum would lace them up, or if he would at all.  Then came word that he was aiming to return after the All Star break… YES! That is only 3 weeks away, the savior is coming… and then it was March 1st, no Bynum, the 76ers are in a 7 game losing streak and sit at a pathetic 22-34 (yes they went 12-28 from November 20th to March 1st).

Fast forward to today; the only thing we have seen out of Andrew Bynum are interviews, and him dancing the flamenco on YouTube (In my opinion, let the guy do what he wants… just because he can’t play basketball, doesn’t mean he can’t leave his house and enjoy himself… even though we all hate him, and it’s painful to watch him have fun).  This is the worst season ever, everyone needs to go, the Sixers should be ashamed of themselves, they should have kept Nikola Vucevic, they are idiots; anything you can say negative about the 76ers and Bynum have been said, but are they legitimate?  I am a firm believer that Andrew Bynum was the key to this entire season, I know that Jrue Holiday was an all-star and had a career year but this roster to me was set up almost identical to the 08-09 Orlando Magic.  That Magic team was based off of guys that can shoot the ball from the outside (Rashard Lewis, Hedo Turkoglu, Mickael Pietrus, etc), and 1 guy in the middle that can pick up the rebounds and score/defend down low; if Dwight Howard went down that year, the Magic probably would not have even made the playoffs.  Andrew Bynum was the 76ers Dwight Howard in the same system, with Jrue Holiday, Dorell Wright, Jason Richardson, Nick Young and Evan Turner all there to spread the floor with their shooting, that leaves Bynum down low for easy entry passes, and easy Rebounds; take Bynum out and it all falls apart, which we all watched happen.

Besides the obvious fact that the 76ers were left without their Dwight Howard, and they foolishly traded Nikola Vucevic away who went on to have an MVP like season for the magic.  Before jumping to that conclusion, let’s take a closer look at Vucevic’s season; he ended the year putting up a staggering 13.1 pts and 11.9 rebounds a game while the 76ers had no one player average over 6 boards a game.  I am going to get crap for this, but I will start by saying I don’t think those stats dictate him as one of the best centers in the league just yet.  The only other player that saw minutes on that team that could rebound was Glen Davis who also was injured and did not make it out of January.  When Vucevic missed time with an injury, Kyle O’Quinn filled in, and racked up tons of rebounds, putting up a per 36 minute average of 11.8 a game, and no one even knows who Kyle O’Quinn is… Nobody.  Tobias Harris also became a solid rebounder the second he joined the Magic, upping his per 36 minute rebounding numbers by an entire 2 rebounds the second he placed a Magic jersey on.  Obviously I didn’t watch many Magic games, but there aren’t many guys in Orlando that grab rebounds… you take away Vucevic, Harris, and Davis and they had 1 player average over 4 rebounds a game and that was Maurice Harkless.  What I am getting at is, they had 3 guys that can rebound, 2 of them spend only a couple months in the lineup which leads me to believe his numbers are a tad bit inflated due to lack of talent on the Orlando roster.  Let’s give him another year before we say that getting rid of him was that terrible of idea.

To sum it all up, the Philadelphia 76ers tried to give this city a good basketball team, they tried really hard in my eyes.  They took a chance on a star player, who coincidentally is one of the best big men in the league (when he wants to be), and did not pay that much.  They gave up a guy everyone has wanted gone for 4 years, a center that never got any minutes here, and a swing player they did not need.  However all we got was one of the worst seasons in recent memory, they built around a guy that never played, and built around the guy that this entire city will hate for many years to come.

Just remember guys… there’s always next year.

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Mike Zoltek

Hi there, I am Mike Zoltek and I enjoy Sports, Food, Movies, Fantasy [insert any sport here], Bourbon, Music, and Golf. I Hate: Pants, Big Bang Theory, Olives, Country Music, and Bobby Clarke. I have grown up watching and suffering with the Phillies, Flyers, Eagles, and Sixers... I had a break-up with the flyers in 97 due to how Bobby Clarke decided to break up the legion of doom and has been trying to rekindle his relationship with them since. I may not use proper grammar or punctuation, but hopefully you at least stay awake and finish reading my ramblings. I would like it if you followed me on twitter @MikeZoltek, if you do... I promise to be your best friend.