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Philly goes big with Bynum, which worries Doc Rivers (a little)

Aug 16, 2012, 7:55 AM EDT

Doug Collins on Wednesday told a great story that illustrates perfectly just what Andrew Bynum can mean to Philadelphia.

Collins was in London calling basketball games for NBC when the Dwight Howard trade that brought Bynum to the Sixers went down. Collins and NBC Olympics hoops studio analyst Doc Rivers — old friends from around the NBA coaching circuit — were out having dinner. I’ll let John Finger of pick it up with a Collins quote from there.

“It was kind of funny. We were talking one night and he was talking about low-post centers and he said the only guy he really worries about is Andrew Bynum and I was about ready to choke,” Collins said with a wry smile. “I was thinking, ‘Hey, Doc we’re going to get him tomorrow.’”

Boston is going small after their playoff success, you will see a lot of Kevin Garnett at the five. In Miami, there will be a lot of Chris Bosh at the five and LeBron James at the four. And after the Olympics we could see a little LeBron at the five again. The top teams in the East are going small.

The Sixers are countering that by going the other direction — they will roll out Bynum at the five and Spencer Hawes as an oversized four. Then they are going to surround those guys with shooters — Jason Richardson, Jrue Holiday, Nick Young, Dorell Wright. They are going to space the floor and give their new big man in the middle a chance to bang on people.

It’s a great strategy, although it may be a year or two before we know if it works. In part because Bynum is going to have to get used to the double teams that come at him — he is slow to recognize the help and pass out of doubles, and he tends to spin baseline when doubled reducing his options. He is going to have to mature not only to deal with that but also to deal with it nightly. Kobe isn’t there to bail him out.

The Sixers are not going to win the Atlantic Division this year, they are not going to win a title. But they have a plan that could make them very competitive.

And they have a player now in Bynum who worries Doc Rivers and the rest of the East.

  1. loungefly74 - Aug 16, 2012 at 8:17 AM

    easily the best center in the east. the potential is enormous with him being the #1 option. i think we could possibly see 25/12/2 type numbers from him (of course, if he shows up every game)…and since i’m just throwing out numbers here…i predict he will be in the top 5 for MVP voting. not betting the farm on that but placing a small wager.

    personally, i hope he does great as he helped get the (my) Lakers 2 titles. but i would also like to see the “return of the true big man” at the 5 spot. i remember growing up with guys like ewing, hakeem, etc…there are not too many out there (where have you gone…greg oden…a nation turns its lonely eyes to you…woo, woo, woo)

  2. hwatt - Aug 16, 2012 at 8:32 AM

    Yes, Donaghy IS very credible. They could have nailed him for publishing libel and spreading lies when he quoted guys like Phil Jackson and the head of officiating warning him not to call traveling or other ticky tack stuff on Jordan back in the day. But all we got in response was ‘oh I don’t remember’.

    Kings-Lakers WCF. Game 6. That’s all I can bear to type from that game.

    Either officiate consistently or lose fans and ticket sales from disillusioned customers. I know plenty of ppl that stopped spending $$ on the NBA bc of this crap.

    • ppdoc13 - Aug 16, 2012 at 6:25 PM

      Wtf does that have to do with the post?

  3. bleed4philly - Aug 16, 2012 at 9:25 AM

    Finally a star comes “to” the Sixers in his prime, hasn’t happened since Malone back in the 80’s. Webber and Mutumbo were past their primes when they came, shut up.

  4. illcomm - Aug 16, 2012 at 9:26 AM

    sixers were pulling away in the Atlantic lastuear before gases went down. they r definetely better than the celtics.

    • b7p19 - Aug 16, 2012 at 10:11 AM

      I wouldn’t say they “r definetely better than the Celtics.” I would say, however, that you cannot possibly throw out the idea that they could win the Atlantic. They can beat the Celtics and Knicks. It’s not like they are competing with the Bulls or Heat.

      I give them a decent chance of winning the Atlantic. Like illcomm said, they were front running in that division last year and that was before they had the most dominant center in the conference. Only time will tell, but I don’t think you can be so cut and dry to say “The Sixers are not going to win the Atlantic Division this year”

  5. davidly - Aug 16, 2012 at 10:47 AM

    I dunno, Kurt. While the head-to-heads will be rough, I think the Sixers might-could-prolly-maybe win their division. If they face Boston in the playoffs, interesting will be the volatility match-up between Garnett and Bynum. Officiating will be crucial.

  6. fanz928 - Aug 16, 2012 at 11:21 AM

    Hope when sixers play Boston or heats Bynum don’t try to elbow someone by the side of the head or anything

  7. dko83 - Aug 16, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    Hope those knees hold up, Sixer’s fans…

  8. illcomm - Aug 16, 2012 at 12:08 PM

    I hope garnett doesn’t throw any of his cheap shots punches to the nuts either.

  9. borderline1988 - Aug 16, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    Exactly as the author said, Bynum needs to learn how to pass.

    This is the first time he’s going to face constant double teams, which up to this point, he’s never had to deal with extensively. Usually, a centre has to recognize the double-team as it’s happening, so he can take a step back and find the open man. Once the double team is already crowding the centre, his options are much more limited. Likely, Bynum will get himself in trouble that way. He needs to learn how to recognize the double approaching, and understand the court spacing so he can get the ball to the right perimeter man, or make his move to the basket before the double team is set.

    The other thing is FT%. If he’s in the mid-60’s, teams are going to foul the crap out of him. If he’s above 70%, he’s going to hurt teams at the FT line. He has shot mid-70’s once before in his career…that would make a huge difference to his scoring output if he can manage that.

    If I were Bynum, that’s all I’d be practicing in the summer. Free throws, and passes with your back to the basket.

  10. eventhorizon04 - Aug 16, 2012 at 9:12 PM

    Thinking about it, Bynum poses a bigger problem to the Celtics than the Heat.

    I have a ton of respect for Kevin Garnett, I place him in the top 5 power forwards of all time, but I don’t know if Garnett at age 37 playing center against Bynum would have nearly as much success as he did in the playoffs playing center against a wounded Al Horford, Spencer Hawes, and a wounded Chris Bosh.

  11. jjordannba - Aug 16, 2012 at 10:13 PM

    The Celtics signed Collins to guard guys like Bynum, Howard, and Marc Gasol

  12. magicbucs - Aug 17, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    Bynum has the knees of a 35 yr old. He will be retired within 3-4 years. Have you seen him walk? He’s knocked kneed, meaning his knees bow in as he walks. At 7′ and his weight, surgeries on both knees already with 2 more on the way??? Philly you lose!

  13. philadelphiafan - Aug 18, 2012 at 11:14 PM

    Kurt, I don’t know how you can be so sure Philly doesn’t win the Atlantic. It’s an 82 game season this year, not 66. Boston is old and New York is New york. I may just be sounding like a homer saying this, but I think the Sixers are the front runners for the division. Their 3 best players are Bynum (24) Holiday (22) and Turner (24). Even if they don’t win the division this year, you know they’ll be on top for years to come with that young core.

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