When the Philadelphia 76ers participated in that massive Dwight Howard blockbuster trade this summer, they did so with the intention of making Andrew Bynum their franchise center. And it made sense. Coming off the best season of his short career, Bynum had proven that he was at least the second best center in the NBA. Plus, while in Los Angeles, he made it clear that he wanted to be a No. 1 option – something Philly figured it would need once Andre Iguadala got shipped out.
Unfortunately, things haven’t played out according to plan. The Sixers sit 12-9 right now, and Bynum has yet to play in any of the team’s first 21 games. Worse yet, a number of reports over the past few weeks have indicated that the idea of him missing this whole season issn’t off the table.
On Monday, Bynum was specifically asked about whether or not he would miss this entire year.
“No, it never crossed my mind,” he replied (via Philly.com). “It is obviously a possibility, but it really depends on what my doctor tells me. If my left knee gets better and starts to feel like my right knee, I’ll be playing.”
That was a fairly expected response. What wasn’t expected, however, is what came next.
“Worst-case scenario, it’s another month,” Bynum said. “Best-case scenario, I can ramp it up.”
“If these were the finals and it could be about me helping this team, then I’m going to play, because that is serious time,” he said. “You want to be a part of that. But I don’t think right now would be a good time to risk anything. Why risk it when you have time to come back and be 100 percent?”
That implies that Bynum’s injury isn’t totally debilitating – that he can play on it and is choosing not to because that’s the smarter move this early in the year. If that’s in fact the case, then Philly is in better shape than folks originally anticipated.
If Bynum returns and is able to make a difference for the Sixers in the playoffs, then his acquisition will obviously be deemed a success. If things don’t play out that way, though, team brass will probably have a hard time explaining why they pulled the trigger on this move without doing a sufficient amount of due diligence.