Bynum is the Star the Sixers Needed
The Sixers finally have a star.
On December 19, 2006, the Philadelphia 76ers sent the star of the franchise, Allen Iverson and forward Ivan McFarlin to the Denver Nuggets for Andre Miller, Joe Smith, and two first-round picks in the 2007 NBA Draft.
Since that day, the Sixers have never had a star shine as bright as Iverson. Philly passed the torch over to Andre Iguodala, but the flame was just to bright, he never wanted to be the star and didn't possess the main quality that a star possesses - the ability to score.
However, it seemed like coach Doug Collins was starting to embrace the possibility that a team could win built around a player with Iguodala's talents. A few weeks ago, a report by CSNPhilly.com suggested that a trade involving Andre Iguodala "won't happen" this summer. Hoopsworld.com took it a step further - suggesting the Sixers are building their team around Iguodala.
Collins said it was "nonsense" to suggest that Iguodala would be traded when the team has drafted Moe Harkless; a player with similar talents.
Today both are gone and the Sixers have a star in center Andrew Bynum.
Bynum is a difference-maker.
Bynum gives the fan base new life, when you drive down I-95 in Philly on the way to Wells Fargo Center, the billboard you will see will have a picture of Bynum on it - not the coach.
While Collins is a great coach, the team needed a star to take the success of last season to the next level. While Iguodala grew on Sixers fans with his effort in the NBA playoffs last season, Bynum will have instant admiration from the fan base.
ESPN NBA Analyst and Hall of Famer, Chris Mullin said on Sportscenter: "This makes the Sixers a top 3-4 team in the East"
There are people who are worried that Bynum might play one year and bolt, to that we have this comment from ESPN's Stephen A. Smith: "Philadelphia is VERY confident they will resign Bynum."
In the end ESPN's Jeff Van Gundy pretty much summed it up: "The Sixers have made huge changes, but as far as talent this is a major upgrade for them (Sixers) and to get more balance offensively, its a good upgrade for them (the Sixers)."
It was all about change.
The Sixers needed to change the culture, the face, the energy around this franchise. The new ownership group with Josh Harris and Adam Aron with the front office of Rod Thorn should be commended for taking a shot, they had a nice little team that made a nice little run, but they understood they needed to swing for the fences.
In Bynum, they have one of the top centers in the NBA if not the best, they get a player who will be the centerpiece of the offense - something they haven'd had since Iverson left.
When we spoke to 710 ESPN's Lakers go-to-guy Beto Duran on the Sports Bash about Bynum he told us: "He is driven by basketball, he knows this is what will define, him and he wants to be one of the best., but to be the player he really wants to be he had to come somewhere else."
"You (Sixers fans) should be excited, Bynum is a confident player now, he won rings, he feels like its his time, the way way he works, he puts in the work, he worked out last off-season with Freddy Roach, he's an intelligent kid who doesn't go out much, he builds computers and just doesn't hold back."
The Sixers had a nice team, now they have a team with a star and a team that people are talking about, that's what the NBA is about.