Nearly half of the NBA’s regular season is gone and Bynum has yet to suit up for the Sixers, a reality that has brought his future with the team into question.
Upon his arrival, his return and subsequent future with the franchise was written in stone. He was going to be the one they built around, the one who would lead this team back to prominence. Instead, he’s been the one watching from sidelines, the one who no one is sure will play this season.
Except for Bynum himself.
Per Tom Moore of phillyBurbs.com, the oft-injured big man doesn’t have a timetable behind his return, yet he is sure he is going to take the floor for the Sixers this season:
Andrew Bynum’s knees are improving and he’s feeling better. The swelling and pain are down and his spirits are improving.
Though there’s still no timetable for Bynum’s debut with the 76ers, he said, “I know I’ll be back (this season) — I just don’t know
That was Bynum’s message during a chat with the media at Monday afternoon’s team practice.
“In the next couple days, I should be up to running and standstill shots,” Bynum said.
Most definitely. Thus far, any news with Bynum has been either bad and/or shrouded in ambiguity. His latest words remain ambiguous, but at least they’re laced with a dose of comfort, however small that may be.
Like it or not, the Sixers need Bynum, and they need him badly. They toiled with mediocrity for awhile, but now they’re five games under .500 and have fallen completely out of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. Bynum can change that.
He can help Philadelphia escape the reality of being 27th in points scored per game. He can help strengthen its 19th-ranked rebounding attack. And he will only enhance the Sixers eighth-ranked defense.
As for when exactly he’ll have the opportunity to do all that, not even Bynum has an exact date. But, barring yet another setback, he believes he’ll be back this season, and that gives Philadelphia hope.
A hope that will allow the team to see what Bynum can do before making a decision of whether or not to cut him loose this summer. A hope that will allow the Sixers to contend for a highly coveted playoff spot.
A hope that still exists as long as Bynum isn’t ruled out for the season.
A hope that both the Sixers and Bynum must continue to latch on to and subsequently believe in if this rattled marriage is to be deemed anything but a demonstrative failure.
Dan Favale is a firm believer in the three-pointer as well as the notion that defense doesn’t always win championships. His musings can be found at Bleacherreport.com in addition to TheHoopDoctors.com. Follow @danfavale on Twitter for his latest posts and all things NBA.