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Bynum gets fresh chance to show maturity, be a leader

Aug 10, 2012, 7:55 AM EDT

Andrew Bynum AP

It was more than just Andrew Bynum’s play compared to Dwight Howard’s that had the Lakers working hard to put together a blockbuster four-team trade that sent Bynum to Philadelphia and brought Howard to L.A.

It also was about whether the Lakers thought Bynum could be the face of the franchise after Kobe Bryant retires in a few years. It was about his maturity.

The Lakers were not sold, at least not as much as they were on Howard. But Bynum has a chance to get the 76ers to buy in and prove the Lakers sold him short. But to do that he has to show his maturity — and he’s going to have to re-sign next summer and stay. (Financially it is better for him to become a free agent and re-sign than it is to sign an extension.)

For years Bynum has wanted a bigger part of the Lakers offense and to be more of a focal point of the team — he’s going to get that now. He’ll get all the attention he’ll want from the media, fans and opposing defenses. But it comes in a city that will expect nightly effort and not the moments of immaturity that had the Lakers balking.

Moments like flattening J.J. Barea at the end of a playoff game for no good reason. Or firing up a three pointer, then when coach Mike Brown called him out on it saying he’d do it again. Or the poor outings, the nights of disinterest, including in the playoffs. Or a nonchalant attitude after those poor outings.

To be fair, Bynum has matured a lot, on and off the court. As a rookie he was so raw he took a hook shot off the wrong foot at Summer League. That first year he used to leave practice, swing by McDonald’s on the way home, stock up then go sit on his couch and play video games.

Over the years Bynum worked hard on his physique and he matured. He’s now a good offensive center with a variety of post moves. He’s in great condition and added a lot of muscle, making him a beast on the block. And he has worked hard to come back from his knee surgeries stronger.

But there were still the moments of immaturity that gave the Lakers pause.

All that has to be in the past now. The good and the bad. Tabula rasa. Bynum is getting a new chance in Philly — with fans ready and willing to embrace him so long as he brings the effort every night. So long as he steps up as a real leader on the court. As long as he has matured enough to step into this moment. The Sixers are going to be top-half of the East good and with a young core that should get better. It is a big stage.

He’s got a real chance, he’s now getting what he has wanted. It’s up to him to seize it.

  1. dls612 - Aug 10, 2012 at 8:19 AM

    Thats right give LeBron and the heat more motivation!! Let’s go Heat!!!!

    • philadelphiafan - Aug 11, 2012 at 11:10 PM

      shut up.

  2. shockexchange - Aug 10, 2012 at 8:31 AM

    Pau Gasol / Andrew Bynum at the same ____ time … two skilled 7 footers at the same ____ time was devastating. The Shock Exchange is not sure if Bynum can carry a team on his own.

    • loungefly74 - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:15 AM

      no…and just like every other team…he needs the right pieces around him to do some damage…but having Bynum at the 5 is a great starting point. heck, that move alone may be enough for a playoff appearance again…

  3. illcomm - Aug 10, 2012 at 8:38 AM

    Hey. I’m not saying hawes is the same as gasol, but they are pretty similar and capable in size, framework n skills.

  4. skids003 - Aug 10, 2012 at 8:43 AM

    “Show maturity and be a leader.” Won’t happen.

  5. mp4philly - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:07 AM

    Welcome! Finally the sixers made the right move. Finally.

  6. dennisund - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    If you think about situations like this in general, the concensus usually is to put that player with a strong coach that will challenge them to be their best, and have a good support structure around them. I don’t know his family situation, but being close to home is usually a good thing. The 6ers are a scrappy, hard-working team, and it’s far more likely Bynum gets onboard with his expectations in that situation than going to a team where they let his ego run wild. Doug Collins is going to stress defense and rebounding, and commands respect.

  7. sal11 - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:22 AM

    The Lakers had questions about Bynum’s maturity…so they traded him for a player who ran around with a Superman cape on and selfishly held a franchise hostage for a full year. The silver lining: there’s no question about Dwight Howard’s maturity!

  8. 1972wasalongtimeago - Aug 10, 2012 at 9:54 AM

    Sixers are going to be good. I think they’re ECF bound. After that you never know.

  9. loungefly74 - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:10 AM

    i think the Sixers had to roll the dice. you can’t always sit around…it seems teams willing to risk it all every now and then…end up winning…every now and then.

    i hope bynum sees his potential and elevates his game. he is the leader now like it or not in Philly. If i ws a philly fan, i would be happy. what do the sixers do now? keep adding complimentary pieces.

    good for the Sixers…

  10. mungman69 - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:20 AM

    If Bynum dogs it in Philly the fans will really let him know about it. If he plays well he might as well stay in Philly. They are young and have a great coach

  11. philly8679 - Aug 10, 2012 at 10:49 AM

    Nice for the Sixers, still not a top tier team, but making smart moves in the off season!!!

  12. davidly - Aug 11, 2012 at 10:05 AM

    Philly and Indiana might win their respective divisions with their big men leading the way. It’s good for the East.

    • jimeejohnson - Aug 11, 2012 at 12:52 PM

      Those pesky Boston Celtics think they are the team to beat. Celtics did not land a quality center, and this will probably be their Achilles heel.

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