Zoo's Views: Sixers need bigs to step up
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If you watched Comcast SportsNet Monday night, you saw Andrew Bynum. You heard from him too. And you heard about the team’s potential timetable that if all goes well, Bynum could be playing basketball for the 76ers anytime between mid-December and the second week of January (see story)
Andrew Bynum is 7-feet, 280 pounds of potential 20 and 10. He has 76ers management and fans fidgeting in anticipation. But the coaching staff can’t think in those terms.
Don’t get me wrong, Bynum is very much on the coaches’ radar. They think about him morning, noon and night. But in their own minds, if Bynum isn’t practicing and isn’t playing, they can’t worry about that. You see, Doug Collins and his assistants can’t bank on Bynum. They can’t plan for that time when he finally appears. Coaches can only coach in the here and now. And right now, there’s no Bynum.
That presents two issues. First, you have a team that, as currently constituted, was designed to compliment Bynum. Without his inside presence, you have to find other ways to create opportunities for the shooters and scorers surrounding him. Jrue Holiday is doing a good job of that (he’s among the NBA’s top 10 in assists), but he’s canceled some of that good by leading the NBA in turnovers.
The other issue is a big one, literally. What are the other Sixers’ bigs doing to step up? Spencer Hawes has largely done his part, embracing and fulfilling the role of sixth man. Veteran Kwame Brown gets an incomplete because he’s only been able to play 11 minutes due to a troublesome left calf. Rookie Arnett Moultrie is ... a rookie, though if he shows in practice he can contribute, Collins will not hesitate to use him in games, much the way he used Lavoy Allen last year.
Hmm ... Lavoy Allen.
Last year, particularly in the playoffs, the second round pick from Temple performed admirably. He was rewarded during the offseason with a new, two-year contract. But this year, Lavoy has struggled, especially in the last two games where he has contributed a total of zero points and two rebounds, both as a starter. The lack of contributions from their bigs has forced Collins to go into what he calls his “trick bag,” playing lineups like he did last night with Dorrell Wright as a power forward and Thaddeus Young as his center.
Andrew Bynum? Here’s hoping the timetable put out by the team comes to fruition. But as far as the Sixers coaches are concerned, there is no timetable. There’s no Andrew Bynum. They can only work in the present. And that means, getting real contributions from those other big men until Bynum puts on a uniform. E-mail Marc Zumoff at firstname.lastname@example.org