Thanks to reader Adam, who once pooped out a Phillies logo that he claimed was solely the work of nature and not, say, a shish-kabob stick, for passing this along: One NBA scout wrote a Sixers preview for Sports Illustrated and, surprise!, he doesn’t think much of your Philadelphia 76ers. And this is all assuming Bynum is healthy!
I think they're worse than they were last year. At the same time, I understand why they traded Andre Iguodala's contract to get Andrew Bynum [who has missed the entire preseason with knee pain]. They'd gone as far as they could playing to the style they played last year.
Now that they've rebuilt the team around Bynum at center, they're going to need to have the floor spread out with guys who have to be guarded so that you won't be able to double on Bynum. The Magic got to the NBA Finals [in 2009] behind a young low-post center in Dwight Howard, but they did it with three great shooters around him. To do it in today's NBA, you have to have three guys on the perimeter to keep help defenders away from the post and put pressure on the defense. Here's what the 76ers have: Dorell Wright can shoot threes, Nick Young can, Jason Richardson can and Jrue Holiday sometimes can. But they're missing a stretch 4 or another guy who can stop you from doubling Bynum and turning him into a passer.
Basically, the Bynum trade was a good one (agreed). But that doesn’t mean the Sixers got any better. There’s not enough legitimate talent around Bynum, especially at the power forward position, to prevent teams from double teaming Afroman.
There was more.
Bynum's health and maturity would be my two big concerns if I were building my franchise around him. You're teased by the fact that he's 24 and has played on great teams, but he has never been the focal point. He's definitely one of the best young centers, but his maturity level at times makes you wonder if you'd want to make that move to depend on him. He has great size, he scores around the basket, he has a decent shot from 15 feet and he will rebound. He can affect the game defensively, but I think you can get him in foul trouble and attack him.
He wants to be the focal point and that's what the 76ers want him to be. But I don't think he's ready for it mentally. He's going to realize that those guys in L.A. made his life a lot easier because he was the third guy on the Lakers you had to worry about. The defenses he faces will be a lot tougher. You have more defensive-minded coaches and teams in the East. Bynum has never faced as many double teams as he'll see this season, and right now he's nothing more than an adequate passer out of the post. When he caught the ball in L.A., it was like he realized if I don't shoot it I'm not going to touch it again for a while. So the decisions he faced with the Lakers were a lot easier than the decisions he'll have to make with the ball in Philadelphia.
Those are absolutely the Sixers’ biggest concerns– Bynum’s health and maturity. The unnamed scout went on to compliment most of the rest of the team (more on that in a second), but all those things won't matter if there isn’t a healthy, effective Bynum.
One guy who did not receive a compliment was Swaggy P, Nick Young. Here’s what the scout wrote:
I am not a believer in Nick Young. He jacks up bad shots, and he's all about Nick Young. He will tease you. That said, he's important for them because they need him to score. So he needs to be a consistent player and a three-point threat.
To confirm my anecdotal sense of his game, I've spent the past three seasons carefully documenting every single one of Young's touches, for the Wizards and also for the Clippers. It turns out that on a shocking 62.3 percent of his touches, he forced (and bricked) a contested pull-up 20-footer early in the shot-clock. On another 20.4 percent of his touches, he forced (and bricked) a contested pull-up 20-footer early in the shot-clock. And on the remaining 17.3 percent of his touches, he turned and pegged the ball through the television screen, directly into my face.
And yet, Nick Young begins the 2012-13 season on the third NBA team (the Philadelphia 76ers this time) to have deliberately chosen to employ him.
This, ultimately, is what makes Nick Young so loathsome: that he is an affront to the entire notion that basketball, the NBA, and the world are governed by any discernible sense or order. A scorer who stinks at scoring; a professional who plays his sublimely team-based sport utterly by himself; a living, breathing human being whose upper body, when he runs, trails behind the rest of him like floppy dead weight, like a raggedy old corpse riding a rollercoaster. His career is made out of nothing more than his own utterly misbegotten certainty that he is a good basketball player, and the willingness of a depressing succession of professional talent evaluators to take his smirk for it.
I’ll caution you that those are not my words, but that I mostly agree with what’s written about both Bynum and Young. It was the first line from the scout that was most telling, however: I think they're worse than they were last year. Couple that with league GMs who pegged the Sixers for third in their division… and you have the opposite of a sunshiny outlook.
Aren’t you glad we’re talking Sixers?