After a flurry of offseason moves, lots of teams in the NBA will look vastly different than they did a year ago. One of the most noticeably changed teams will be the Philadelphia 76ers. They have put a new face on their franchise in former L.A. Laker Andrew Bynum and shipped off Andre Iguodala to Denver.
Iguodala was a great defender and one of the leaders of the team, but head coach Doug Collins said the team had gone as far as they could with their former cast.
“I personally thought we had maxed our team out I thought we were a team that every night played hard, we played terrific defense and if you looked at our team other than Andre Iguodala we really didn’t have a premier defensive player individual,” said Collins. “Michael Curry, what he did with our defense was spectacular. We didn’t have a dominant rebounder or shot blocker so to do the things that we did on the defensive end to give us a chance we thought was really, really good but we knew if we were going to make a move that we were going to have to get better and unfortunately when you do that you’re going to lose good people.”
The Sixers got off to a hot start last season but leveld off in the second half, finishing just a few games over .500. They benefitted from Derrick Rose’s injury to get out of the first round of the playoffs then lost to the Boston Celtics in a hard fought second round series.
Collins is right though. The team was talented but they were not going to make it to the ranks of Eastern Conference contenders with the roster they had. They needed a franchise player to build around and now they think they have that with Bynum.
Only time will tell if that trade pays off. Bynum had his maturity and discipline issues in L.A. but maybe finally getting out of Kobe Bryant’s shadow is exactly what he needs.
Bynum is a player who has never reached his full potential. If he can do that in Philly, then the 76ers have a player to build around for years to come and they have a shot to become something special. There is no guarantee that their offseason trade will work out in the long run, but they had to try something.
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