Saturday , Aug , 18 , 2012 Matt Formica

Bynum and Philadelphia Will Be Great For Each Other

Bynum and Philadelphia Will Be Great For Each Other

If there is one thing we can all learn from Andrew Bynum’s experience as a Los Angeles Laker, it’s this:  attitude is everything.

Hoopsvibe’s Quick Call:  Andrew Bynum will enjoy playing the game more in Philadelphia than he did in Los Angeles and be a superstar with the 76ers.

Bynum has all of the natural athletic ability and talent one needs to be a dominant force in the NBA.  He stands 7 feet tall and weighs 285 pounds.  To better his footwork, he boxes as part of his off-season training and as a result, can move extremely well given his size.  Offensively, he has a soft touch on his jump shot and can utilize both hands to score.  Defensively, he can close out on shooters and is a terrific shot blocker. 

With these attributes, he’s helped the Lakers win two championships.

He’s also been able to overcome multiple injuries since being drafted by Los Angeles in 2005.  Since then, he’s sustained various knee injuries and has undergone numerous surgeries.  Whereas many players are never able to bounce back from injuries like Bynum’s, he’s been able to.  I don’t think anyone out there would question the resilience this kid has shown.

But still, with all of his physical gifts and abilities, Bynum’s attitude has been a problem in LA and has always been his biggest critique. 

After Coach Mike Brown benched him in the 3rd quarter against Golden State last season for shooting a three-pointer, Bynum sat at the end of the bench and did not join team huddles during timeouts for the remainder of the game.  And that wasn’t the only time he pouted on the bench and refused to join huddles. 

Moreover, his work ethic has often been questioned and he has been known to give up on defense when he doesn’t get the ball on offense.

But I don’t think being in LA helped improve his mental state.  Everyone rags on the city of Boston for how hard they are on their professional athletes when they aren’t performing but in LA, people often don’t really care even when you do perform.  In LA, if you’re not the absolute best all the time, aka if you’re not Kobe, you’re nothing.  Perhaps Bynum, like many, just wasn’t cool with that and needed a little more love.

So given that a four team trade involving Bynum and Dwight Howard (among others) last week made him one of the newest members of the Philadelphia 76ers, Bynum will soon be playing his home games about an hour from where he grew up in South Jersey.  I would argue, that being near home will help Bynum (from a mental standpoint) tremendously which will in turn, have a positive effect on his play.

The 7-footer arrived in Philly this week and was greeted not with the normal press-conference but a full blown pep rally that was open to the public.  The outpouring of support for the local big man had him smiling ear to ear.

"It makes me super-excited," Bynum said.  "My first experiences here have been so great.  I’m really leaning toward making this my home."

I think we are going to see a change in attitude for the better from Andrew Bynum in Philadelphia.  I think we are going to see a player that is excited for the opportunity to revive a franchise that really needs his help.  I think we are going to see a guy who’s happy not being in Kobe’s shadow, or dealing with the facade that can be LA.  I think we are going to see a guy that is happier being close to his family and friends.

Remember, Bynum is also coming off his best NBA season yet so he has momentum working for him too.  He averaged 18.7 points, 11.8 rebounds and made his first All-Star team this past year.

"I enjoy Philly, I’m from here, I don’t see anything wrong.  I don’t see any problem why I wouldn’t want to stay here," he said.

As long as Bynum stays happy and healthy, Philadelphia will be a serious threat in the Eastern conference in no time. 

And we will all watch Andrew Bynum go from being a star, to a superstar. 

The power of the mind is amazing.

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Image source:  WENN Images