Bynum feeling better, meshing with Collins
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Andrew Bynum has yet to step on the court for the Sixers but he is still the focal point of this team. Bynum left Monday’s morning practice session with a DVD of the offense so that he could go home and study. Still, he knows to truly get acclimated to his teammates he needs to participate.
“That’s just rudimentary,” Bynum said. “You have to get up and down in practice ... you can’t just go play an NBA game. I would want that for myself. “
Bynum went on to say that you need practice in order to play the game well, a comment in striking contrast to that of a former Sixers superstar who couldn’t believe we would waste time actually discussing practice.
That was the Allen Iverson era; this era of Sixers basketball will belong to Bynum, so long as he has good health.
“I feel pretty good and I am definitely getting better,” Bynum said. "I just really have been trying to get down the offense because it is brand new.”
The goal is still the same as last Monday, when the team announced that, for precautionary reasons, Bynum would have no basketball activity for three weeks. Bynum is resting in an effort to help a bone bruise in his knee heal and allow the Orthokine procedure he had done to take full effect.
“I think if all the beans were on the table, I would be out there,” Bynum said, to help define the status of his injury.
One thing that Bynum has been able to develop the first week of camp is a positive relationship with Doug Collins.
“I feel like he really understands being a player,” Bynum said. “He gives a lot of rest to make sure no one gets hurt and that everyone is in tip-top shape. Offensively, he is putting in a lot of different things so he’s had to help guys keep their minds into practice and staying prepared.
“Off the court, we have had a bunch of conversations,” Bynum continued. “He has told me what he expects from me and that he always has an open door and that is the best thing you want from a coach.”
A positive relationship between star player and head coach is vital to a team’s success. Larry Brown and Iverson taught us that. Their working relationship was often tumultuous. They worked through their differences frequently in public but ultimately, together, led the Sixers to the 2001 NBA Finals.
Getting back to the NBA Finals is the path the franchise is hoping to travel in the near future. Talent and communication are the cornerstones of that process.
“He’s happier,” Collins said of Bynum’s mood. “He senses he is getting closer to play. Anybody who has ever been injured, especially going to a new team where so much is expected and you can’t get out there and play, it’s a downer. You see his energy level and he has worked his tail off.”
Hard work has been the theme of this camp with stiff competition across the board. That competition led Collins to assign homework Monday. Each player received a blank card from him and on it they are to write what role they think they should play on this team.
“I want to make sure what I am thinking and what you are thinking are in conjunction with one another,” Collins explained to his players of why he was giving the assignment. “It will be interesting to see how guys assess themselves after a week.”
“I don’t know yet, but I have been thinking about it,” Bynum said of what he will write. “I think it is going to be a pretty long one, that is all I know.”
Bynum thinks the role cards are important, especially on a team that has so much competition virtually at every position. That was one observation he had of his new teammates. The other was that this team is able to put the ball in the basket.
“We can shoot the heck out of the ball,” he stressed. “We have a lot of shooters out here. The offense is looking really good, to be honest. Defensively we have a lot of work but that is kind of natural.”E-mail Dei Lynam at firstname.lastname@example.org