Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Lavoy Allen Playing With Confidence


When the Philadelphia 76ers visited the Cleveland Cavaliers last Wednesday, Lavoy Allen just recorded two fouls in as many minutes. He found himself buried on the bench behind Spencer Hawes, Kwame Brown and even Dorell Wright who has been seeing an increased amount of time at the power forward spot now that Andrew Bynum has been declare out indefinitely.

But, ever since the Sixers’ sometimes-clueless coach, Doug Collins, gave his young Temple grad the green light and starting nod at Center, the second-year man has been playing with more confidence and the results are showing. Over the past three games, Allen has been averaging 8.3 points 5 rebounds and 2 assists in just 25 minutes per night.

While all of the hype for the Sixers that doesn't concern Bynum has been about Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner, Allen has been a truly underrated contributor for this team in the past week. Something his stats don’t show is his timely rebounding and clutch defense. We saw Lavoy’s ability to defend in the playoffs last season when he shut down Kevin Garnett play after play. Last night, as the Sixers were struggling to close out the Mavericks, Allen denied Chris Kaman of any scoring in the last 2:38 seconds, the time he checked in to replace Brown. Prior to his defensive stand, Kaman had led the Mavs in scoring with 20 points and had just hit a layup 30 seconds earlier. You can’t use stats to show how his timely tip outs on offensive rebounds affect the pace of the game either. If you included the roughly two or three times Allen chases down a miss and tips it back out to a teammate as a rebound, he would be averaging nearly 16 rebounds per 48 minutes. That’s an incredible statistic.

Right now, the Sixers have a solid core of Jrue, Evan and Thad that can keep their team slightly above .500 without their nucleus in Bynum. But, in the big man’s absence, player’s like Lavoy have to step up to keep this team relevant. So for now, be very thankful for the effort that Lavoy Allen is playing with this holiday.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Road-trip Recap: The Progression of Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner

Jrue Holiday is becoming a top PG in the League

The Philadelphia 76ers return home to the Wells Fargo Center tomorrow night, Monday, November 12, for a five-game home stand after a very successful road trip. While playing in Boston and Toronto against the Celtics and Raptors, respectively, over the weekend, the Sixers came away with two victories led by some very important players.

Against Boston, Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner put on performances that Philly execs and fans alike have been dreaming about ever since Turner was selected with the No. 2 Overall pick in the 2010 Draft. Both young guards played just over 40 minutes in the game, as Holiday scored 21 points while dishing out 14 assists and Turner poured in 25 points and grabbed 11 boards. While Andrew Bynum remains sidelined, the Sixers must heavily rely on the play of their young backcourt in order to compete and win games. Currently on a three-game win streak, Holiday and Turner are doing just that. In fact, many are starting to imagine just how effective matching Bynum with such elusive guard play will be against the Sixers’ opponents.

On the season, Holiday, who recently signed a new 4 year, $41 million contract extension, is leading the team in scoring at 18.2 points per game and assists at 9.5. Turner is right behind him 12.3 points and leads the team in 9.5 boards a night as well.

Holiday is simply blossoming in front of our eyes. He’s toying with defenders like he’s a 99 rating in NBA 2K13, he’s carving up defenses with his suddenly deadly court vision and he’s lighting it up from beyond the arc at 44%. Call me crazy, but Jrue Holiday is playing at an All-Star level right now. It’s not unrealistic for him to be in the conversation for best point guard in the East with Derrick Rose out and Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo not playing at career best levels. No matter what, he’s been very fun to watch.

As we wait for Bynum to return, the progression of Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner that we’ve asked for is definitely enough to keep us sidetracked for the time being.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Here Come The Sixers

Spencer Hawes Swatted Away the Nuggets

And with that, the Philadelphia 76ers Andrew Bynum era is underway!

Even though Bynum didn’t play this evening, it’s still clear that this team has a new identity without Andre Iguodala. This team is clearly a more cohesive unit, there’s generally more ball movement on offense and even from my crappy feed on my laptop in London, I could still observe excellent communication on the floor amongst the Sixers players.

Now, let’s dive into tonight’s positives and negatives


3 Wings
Besides big Drew, the Sixers’ biggest additions this offseason were their new trio of wing players, Jason Richardson, Dorrell Wright and Nick Young. Tonight, while they weren’t the devastatingly knockdown shooters that they were in the preseason, the trio still combined for 33 points and contributed 5 of the team’s 7 three-pointers. Naturally, as the team settles down, they won’t be as shot-happy and their shooting percentages will all go up, but you also have to be especially pleased by their defensive efforts as well. The three wingmen totaled 7 steals, 4 blocks and 14 rebounds. You have to like what they will bring to the team this season.

Jrue’s Passing
The biggest storyline of the Sixers season this year besides Bynum is Jrue Holiday’s progression. As the team just inked Holiday to a multi-year contract extension (terms not undisclosed), fans and members of the media are looking for Jrue to improve in three areas: Attacking the basket to score and get to the line, three-point shooting and distribution. Tonight, Holiday shot made four of five free throw attempts and dished out 11 assists. He still needs to look for his drive more often, especially off pick and rolls, but you have to be absolutely pleased with how easily and efficiently Jrue involved his teammates against the Nuggets.

Team Defense
Living in a quad-dorm with three Celtics fans currently, I was a broken record last night during the Celtics-Heat contest about how thin the Celtics interior defense is. Without Bynum, the Sixers D obviously suffers from that weakness as well. However, against Denver, in the second half and particularly the third quarter, it was very clear how cohesively the Sixers were playing on the defensive end. They rotated terrifically, jumped out into passing lanes and tipped the ball almost every time a Nuggets player even set a toe inside the paint. The 76ers forced 15 turnovers tonight, including two impressive shot clock violations.

Spencer Hawes
Ever since Spencer’s first game off the bench last season, after he returned from his first injury, I’ve said that Hawes is most effective when playing off the bench. While watching the starters open the game, you can see that big Spence is just itching to play, listening to Collins bark and “teach” and that obviously pays dividends on the court. As a reserve, its evident that Hawes plays with a mindset that he needs to make the most of his minutes. If he does, he’ll finish the game like tonight. If he doesn’t, he’ll sit during crunch time. But he’s also shown physical improvements during the preseason and against Nuggets. He is in great shape, allowing him to be more agile, especially defensively (FIVE BLOCKS), and play more minutes. Hawes also is sporting a more fluid shooting motion, which he proudly showed off on his two three pointers tonight, and an awesome mullet. It will still remain imperative that Collins doesn’t react the wrong way to his performance tonight and insert him in the starting lineup.


Opponent Offensive Rebounding
Just like last season, the Sixers showed that they are very susceptible to opponent offensive rebounding tonight. Obviously, Bynum will drastically help that cause. But the team needs to overall work on defensive rebounding as a unit . On multiple occasions tonight, the 76ers did a great job collapsing on the ball and forcing a missed shot with great team rotations, but then forget about going after that missed shot. Hopefully, this is something Collins will “teach” in practice.

Too Shot-Happy-
As the Sixers have been publicizing all preseason, the team now boasts a bevy of three point weapons. They were straight lethal from beyond the arc in the first quarter, but following that hot shooting, the team as a whole got a little too shot-happy, especially in the beginning of possessions. When Denver made their 17-3 run in the fourth quarter, it came largely do to the long rebounds of Sixer three-point misses that started Nugget fast breaks. When the game slows down in fourth quarters, and when Bynum is back, the team will have to look to get the ball inside more and attack the basket in order to maintain late-game leads.  You can’t fall totally in love with the three ball for all 48 minutes.

4th Quarter Stagnant Offense
As previously mentioned above, the Sixers offense in the fourth quarter did not consistently get inside the paint and to the rim late in the game. In a typical Doug Collins-coached team fashion, the 76ers relied on midrange jumpers in the half court instead of ball movement that created layups. Playing against the best teams in the league, and when opponents are in mid-season offensive form, a stagnant late-game offense can be the death of this young and energetic team.

Collins play-calling
While Doug Collins is largely praised as one of the greatest “teachers” of the game, I’m still consistently amazed at how poor of a play-caller he is. Doc Rivers is revered for his ability to always design an effective play out of timeouts, and that helps the Celtics score anywhere from 6-10 points a night. I don’t think Collins knows how to draw up a successful and effective play out of a timeout. Frankly, I’ve never seen it. He showed it again tonight when a high pick and roll between Hawes and Holiday turned into a turnover and layup for Denver. Let’s hope Bynum can change all that.

But, the team looked tremendous even in the absence of Bynum, so let’s end on a very positive note. Besides Spencer, Jrue, three-point shooting and the victory, these Sixers guys look like they really love playing together. There was A LOT of chemistry on the Wells Fargo Center court tonight for a team that really just came together a few months ago. The average age of this team is 26.2. They’re young, excited, full of energy and ready to make a statement this season. Maybe they’ll be able to pull off a top-4 seed in the Eastern Conference playoff picture.

And, as always…

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6ers!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Was The Right Man Forced From The Nest?

It was Andy Reid's "decision alone" to fire Defensive Coordinator, Juan Castillo.
Yesterday, the Philadelphia Eagles fired Defensive Coordinator, Juan Castillo. Not Defensive Line Coach, Jim Washburn. Not Offensive Coordinator and play-caller, Marty Mornhinweg. Not Quarterbacks Coach, Doug Pederson. Juan Castillo.

Juan Castillo’s time as the Defensive Coordinator for the Eagles has been nothing short of controversial. Right from the get go, Andy Reid’s confusing decision to promote a longtime offensive line coach to Defensive Coordinator was criticized. It, frankly, didn’t make any sense at all. As the Eagles started 4-8 in 2011, everyone, including myself, rooting for the team that inhabits Lincoln Financial Field was calling for Reid and Castillo’s head. But, it seemed as if the defense truly clicked during the teams four-game win streak to close out the season. Then, the defense looked to continue that dominance over their four preseason games, and the team’s first two regular season wins over the Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens.

Then, the Eagles were 2-0, essentially on a 10-game winning streak including preseason and the last four games in 2011. Since then, the team is now 3-3, after losing the last two games on fourth quarter inefficiency. Against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 5, the Birds defense allowed Ben Roethlisberger to march his squad down the field for Suan Suisham to kick a game-winning field goal after the offensive took a 16-14 lead. Then, the following week, the Eagles held a 23-13 lead in the fourth quarter after a 70-yard touchdown pass from Michael Vick to Jeremy Maclin. But then, the defense failed to hold onto lead, ultimately collapsing at the hands of Matthew Stafford’s fourth quarter and overtime and falling 26-23.

At least that’s what Andy Reid wants you to think.

That paragraph is a load of crap.

Jaun Castillo is not the reason for the Eagles’ current two-game losing streak they take with them into the bye week. It’s the offense’s inconsistency and turnovers.

The Eagles have only had one truly well balanced offensive play-calling game this entire season. And, that was only during the second half of their home game vs. the New York Giants in Week 4 that only resulted in a win because of Lawrence Tyne’s baby foot. But, if you look very closely at the game, the Eagles’ offense should have put up 34 points, not 19. The Red Zone deficiencies are still there on offense. The overall offensive scoring is weak. The productivity of the offense is awful. And they’re setting up the defense to fail; allowing opponent’s to have the best starting field position in the league.

Despite all this, the Eagles defense is still the 13th best overall defense in the league. Despite the offense being the 31st ranked scoring offense in the NFL, the defense is still the 13th best in the league. Despite the offense ranking 25th in Red Zone scoring percentage, the defense is still the 13th best overall in the league.

This team’s main problems are offensive turnovers and a recent failure of the defensive line getting to the quarterback. Michael Vick has lost 13 of the team’s 17 turnovers. But the Quarterback’s coach hasn’t been reprimanded. The Wide-9 technique struggled last season because of poor linebacking and secondary play. Now, the Eagles have a bolstered linebacker corps and a stronger and more cohesive secondaru. But the Wide-9 is no longer getting to the quarterback. But the Defensive Line coach wasn’t reprimanded. The Eagles have criminally underused LeSean McCoy on offense. Yet the player-calling Offensive Coordinator wasn’t reprimanded. Andy Reid is the face of all these problems, and while I’m never a fan of a head-coaching midseason change, he wasn’t reprimanded.

I’m in now way Juan Castillo’s biggest fan. But, I am a believer in his motivational talents and ability to command respect of a group of players. And I do believe this defense’s problem is the Wide-9 attack.

On paper and to the casual fan, firing Castillo makes total sense. He’s the man in charge of a defense that gave away the team’s last two wins. But, taking a closer look, he’s the man in charge of a defense that’s also inherited the worst starting field position and that’s had to go out and defend following 17 turnovers through 5 games. That’s honestly annoying!

When you fire someone, you hope things change for the better. The only way things change for the better is if the Eagles eliminate turnovers and get to the quarterback. Juan Castillo wasn’t in charge of either of those things.

I’m looking at you Washburn, Mornhinweg, Pederson and Reid. The writing is on the wall if things don’t improve.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Soaring, Efficient and Effective Eagles Beat Giants in Wild Fashion

Eli Manning: a dejected, historically lucky, piece of crap

After a suffering a shellacking at the hands of KEVIN KOLB (Really???) and the suddenly tenacious Arizona Cardinals Defense in Week 3, the Philadelphia Eagles, and Michael Vick in particular, were scrutinized by everyone, including their own grandmothers, during this past week leading up to their triumphant victory over the New York Giants last night.

Skip Bayless refused to call Vick anything less than a basket case on multiple First Take airings. NFL Countdown, NFL Live, NFL Network, along with everyone else, criticized the play-calling and turnovers committed by the Eagles through their first 3 games.

But, with 12 team turnovers, 9 coming from Vick himself, the Eagles were still 2-1, with two 4th Quarter comebacks, and a chance to belly up the Giants and claim a nice lead in the NFC East.

Well… That. Just. Happened!

On Brian Dawkins number-retirement night (And seriously, did you actually think the Eagles would lose on Brian Dawkins night??), the Birds did what was necessary to win football games. They had ZERO turnovers. They gave up 57 yards rushing. They forced the Giants to go 2-10 on 3rd Down conversions. But, most importantly, they actually featured tremendous play calling in the final 5 minutes of the first half and almost all of the second.

So far this season, the Birds have been very reluctant to establish their ground game first and develop their aerial attack second. That norm still occurred in the first quarter, but, suddenly with the clock winding down on the first half, Marty Mornhinweg actually started calling effective, diverse plays. Here’s LeSean McCoy for a run up the middle, Vick three-step drop to Brent Celek for 7, then back to McCoy! Overall, the Brids racked up 422 total yards on 30 pass plays and 36 rush attempts. That’s a textbook balanced offense that hasn’t been seen under Andy Reid’s regime too often. Michael Vick also looked masterful at times, carving up the Giants linebackers and secondary with three-step drops and 7-15 yard passes instead of an array of attempts at 20-25 yard passes. The Offensive Line wasn’t dominant, but was very serviceable in the second half as well. If the Eagles offense continues to play the way the ended last night’s contest, the Steelers have their hands full next week.

But, of course there has to be some criticism dished out. Offensively, the Eagles reverted to last season’s style and struggled to turn Red Zone opportunities into seven points. However, you can’t be too nervous about these difficulties because they haven’t really had much of them thus far this season.

The main problems with the team last night were none other than gaping holes in Special Teams coverage and slot-pass coverage. With Special Teams, there must have been just endless amounts miscommunication. That’s the only way to speculate how the holes in the team’s coverage were so wide open, Shaquille O’Neal in his oversized Buick sedan could’ve drove through them. After fumbling a crucial possession David Wilson cried during his team’s season opener earlier this season. He then was benched behind Andre Brown in Week 3, who started in place of Ahmad Bradshaw. Brown was waived 8 TIMES in his career prior to this season. Yet, the rookie Wilson was still able to torch the Special Teams? Make some open field tackles guys!

However, most importantly, the Eagles severely struggled covering slot receivers. Under secondary coach, Todd Bowles, the Eagles’ cornerbacks have been playing a bump-and-run style of one-on-one pass coverage that has worked wonders on the outside of the field. The corners and safeties have been working together excellently on the majority of pass plays this season, only allowing 206.8 opponent pass yards per game, which ranks 8th in the NFL. But man, Bowles needs to call up is friends, Linebackers Coach, Mike Caldwell, and Defensive Coordinator, Juan Castillo, to discuss how the linebackers need to help the third corners in the slot. Brandon Boykin, DRC and even Brandon Hughes busted their butts all night trying to defend Victor Cruz and a few tight ends. But, I have to say, the linebackers, especially Demeco Ryans truly let them down. Ryans has been an excellent defensive quarterback, pass rusher and pretty efficient covering tight ends one on one this season, but he showed a major flaw last night. His inefficient help on slot receivers directly resulted in the only two Giants touchdowns of the evening. It was Ryans who read the tight end option incorrectly, leading to a Bear Pascoe TD and it was Ryans who failed to cover Victor Cruz underneath (a ball he should’ve picked off and taken to the house), leading to his touchdown and annoying salsa dance. I still can’t believe NBC played salsa music during its broadcast. How flipping ridiculous!

With an outstanding pass rush and run-stopping front seven, the Eagles defense looks to be in great shape. Most offenses don’t have such dynamic slot receivers as the Giants do in Cruz, but if the Birds can fix this problem, they might be able to be called the best defense in football later on this season.

Now, For the sake of my cholesterol, we’re not even going to discuss the icing the kicker fiasco… Let’s just say, with the struggling Steelers are up next, who gave up 34 to the Raiders, can you smell 4-1?

#Eagles baby!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

How Far Will the Eagles Fly in 2012?

Ready or not, here they come!
After a disappointing 8-8 2011 season, which featured many calls for Andy Reid’s head, jokes about Juan Castillo’s incompetence, Michael Vick injuries, annoying DeSean Jackson moments, turnovers and failed Red Zone attempts, it’s time to finally look past all of that turmoil and look forward to what should be a better and brighter 2012 NFL season in Philly! Let’s look at some of the factors that will contribute to the team’s success or demise this fall.

Key Losses and Additions 
The Eagles naturally have undergone a ton of player movement this offseason. They of course traded away Asante Samuel for a 7th round draft pick, and traded away a few other pieces. But, the team’s biggest loss for the 2012 season wasn’t due to player movement. Very unfortunately, the Birds lost Pro-Bowl offensive lineman, Jason Peters to a re-injured Achilles. Peters will be sidelined for likely the entire season. This gigantic loss, both figuratively and physically (I mean Jason Peters is a BIG BOY), called for one of the Eagles’ biggest additions, former Bills’ OLineman Demetress Bell. Bell was ironically Buffalo’s replacement for Peters when they lost him to the Eagles. Additionally, the Eagles have brought in former Pro Bowl Middle Linebacker and imminent heart of the defense, DeMeco Ryans.

There’s no surprise that Head Coach Reid is still on the hot seat. After tragically losing his son during the preseason, Reid decided to deal with his grieving by returning straight to football. With that, he’s given himself room for no excuses and he will still be held accountable for his decision to promote Castillo to Defensive Coordinator. The big names, including, Offensive Coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, Special Teams Coordinator Bobby April, Defensive Line Coach Jim Washburn and Offensive Line Coach Howard Mudd, have all returned to the Eagles coaching staff this season. But, all eyes are on the Eagle’s new Secondary Coach, Todd Bowles. Bowles is entering his 13th season as an NFL assistant. He is expected to severely improve the play of the Birds’ highly paid cornerbacks and inexperienced safeties. But, we’ll get more in a little bit.

Rookie Class
This offseason, the Eagles had a truly incredible draft. Their incoming rookie class is arguably the greatest of the Andy Reid era. This talented group of youngsters should truly impact the team right away this season, and primarily on defense. First, the Birds definitely bolstered their front 7 with the additions of DT Fletcher Cox from Mississipi State, DE Vinny Curry from Marshall and LB Mychal Kendricks from California. During the preseason, all three of these pass rushers were physical and effective. CB Brandon Boykin from Georgia will definitely be a great addition as well. He will battle for playing time in the nickel and dime packages and should be one of Bobby April’s favorite players on Special Teams. And, last but not certainly not least; Nick Foles has entered the minds and hearts of Eagles fans. After the team grew very cautious in protecting Michael Vick’s ribs and Mike Kafka’s injuries gave him a free trip to the unemployment list, Foles stepped right into the backup quarterback slot and shined. While starting the final 2 preseason games for the Eagles, and playing almost all of Game 3 at Cleveland, Foles showed great poise and collectiveness as he passed for 146 yards and 2 touchdowns with only 1 interception in his first professional start. Even though it was only in the preseason, he was still very impressive. 

Michael Vick. Shady McCoy. DeSean Jackson. Jeremy Maclin. Brent Celek. We know how high potent the Eagles offense should be. Now, it’s only a matter of they can get the job done. Even with Vick only taking a limited number of snaps in the preseason, there have been reports after reports about how busy the star QB has been preparing for this season. He says he only has his thoughts set on the Super Bowl, but it’s time for him to stop talking and being covered by First Take and prove something on the field.

Many people and experts are saying that the fate of the Eagles’ season relies on the health of Vick. I think that this team will go as far as the defense takes them. Shady is going to run for 1000+ yards and the offense will score at least 17 points a game. If the defense can do their job, this Birds club could be playing deep into winter. It was truly a treat watching Castillo and Washburn send 8 into the box and punish quarterbacks and running backs left and right in the preseason. I really enjoyed seeing them get past multiple offensive lines with tremendous ease. But now, they have to do it in the regular season when the lights are really on. I’m not too sure that Castillo will be able to put together a complete 16 game season of defensive excellence, but we’ll have to wait and see.

Special Teams
The Eagles have brought back Chaz Henry and Alex Henery to star in their kicking game one again. Chaz beat out former Baltimore Ravens Pro Bowl punter Mat McBriar during preseason. And again, coach Bobby April has a lot of talented young players who are looking to contribute in any way possible. The Eagles should also be very effective in the return game this season, bringing back DeSean Jackson and adding Boykin as well as Demarious Johnson.

While all eyes are on Michael Vick to see if he can stay healthy, my attention is again focused on the Eagles front 7 or 8’s success this season.  Will the Wide-9 prove dominant? Will Demeco Ryans be the savior of the line backing corps? I think the answer is yes to both of those questions. With the defense being successful and efficient, they will allow Michael Vick to have the most opportunities possible to put up points. With more time and more plays, Vick might just be able to play a little more cautious and smart knowing that his defense will go back out there and stop the other team when he steps off the field. Regardless, it’s pretty much guaranteed Vick will only start 14 games at most this season. And, Nick Foles and given a lot of Philly faithfuls hope for those games that Vick will miss. With everything clicking right for this team and facing a pretty difficult schedule, I think the ceiling for this team is an 11-5 regular season but they will probably win 9 or 10 games. 10 wins will probably win the NFC East division this season. The Redskins are a shoe-in for 6-10, the Cowboys are going to be around .500 and the Giants should be around 9-7 as well. If the Eagles defense can take care of business and save Juan Castillo’s job, look for the Birds to be playing a home playoff game come winter. 

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The New Beast of the East

Andrew Bynum was all smiles at his Sixers press conference
On a fateful August night, the lives of Sixers fans were forever changed. After suffering through 7 years of turmoil, pizzazz-free, horrible-coached, lethargic and just plain boring basketball, Philly faithful finally have a reason to seriously root for the 76ers again!

When the Joshua Harris-led ownership group took over the organization from Comcast, they promised to push this franchise into not just relevance, but the spotlight as well. In this 2012 offseason, they’ve done exactly that.

Short of the Kwame Brown signing, the Sixers’ management group has done everything right this summer following a somewhat lackluster draft. They got rid of a rapidly declining Elton Brand. They let another team overpay for Lou Williams. They told Jodie Meeks to go screw himself. They resigned Lavoy Allen to an amazing deal. They added shooting wings in Nick Young and Dorell Wright. And my personal favorite…


Now, if you’ve read me in the past or follow me on twitter, you already know what I detest about Andre Iguodala (and if you haven’t, read my stuff and don’t follow me on twitter you need to change up your lifestyle), so I’m gonna take a deep breath, and never speak the about Andre Iguodala as a Sixer ever again. I’m going to solely focus on how much of a boss gargantuan Andrew Bynum is and why he will instantly transform the 76ers into a Top-4 Eastern Conference.

For starters, Bynum is 7-1, 290 pounds and has outstanding athletic ability, good hands and a superb knowledge of basketball. Basically, Spencer Hawes looks like a 7th Grader who just hit puberty compared to this guy.

Last season, (Bynum’s best of his career and he’s only 24), the former Lakers Center averaged 18.7 ppg, 11.8 rpg, 1.4 apg, 1.9 bpg, while shooting 55.8% FG. Meanwhile, over in Philly, Hawes and Nik Vucivic combined to average 15.1 ppg, 12.1, 3.2 apg, 1.9 bpg on 47% FG per game. What makes these numbers even more outrageous is that Bynum was playing third fiddle to Kobe Bryant AND Pau Gasol whereas Hawes was THE big man for the Sixers last year. Bynum even had seven 30-point ames, two 20-20 games and one 30 rebound game last year as well.

The numbers don’t just show he is by far the most productive Sixers big since the Sixers appeared in the 01 Finals, they show that Bynum will be one of the most dominant Centers the East has seen since that time. I’ve been watching the Sixers up close and personal ever since 1999 and I can’t even imagine how amazing it will be to see how dominantly effective his masterful post game will straight confuse and embarrass his opponents.

Bynum is only 24. Which means, with hopefully a string of good health, the man hasn’t even nearly come close to his greatest potential and he’s already started an All-Star game!

The only downsides to Bynum, which his biggest critics will never drop, are  his knees and attitude. First, after all of the readings I’ve done about the Orthokine/Regenokine procedure Bynum will undergo in the next few weeks, I can’t help but grow more and more excited about the explosiveness and extra strength Bynum should and probably will gain in his knees. This procedure has a very good chance of turning his career from something special to something we’ll tell our grandkids about. Next, I think a lot of Bynum’s attitude problems in LA were products of poor coaching and frustration with the system he was playing in. Remember, a man making a deserved $14.5 million was the team’s THIRD OPTION.

Even though I dislike a lot of Doug Collins’ philosophies and techniques, I think he and Bynum will see eye-to-eye. Now, you may be thinking, “Well Collins likes to teach and Bynum hates to learn… how is that going to work?” I think it will work because Bynum is going to full-heartedly accept being the leader of this team. The demeanor he held himself in during his opening press conference was spectacular. I was so impressed with the maturity and composition he showed about basically taking this team and throwing it atop in broad, broad, broad shoulders.

Finally, who in the East is going to stop this dude? Let’s go through last season’s playoff teams. Will Joel Anthony Stop him? Will near-40-year-old Kevin Garnett stop him? Will a more built for speed and agility than strength Tyson Chandler stop him? Will a slow Roy Hibbert stop him? Will 6-10 Al Horford stop him? Will cry-baby Joakim Noah consistently stop him? Will Dwight—whoops never mind.

If you think any of the above centers in the East will able to consistently slow down Bynum while he takes 20-25 shots over the course of an entire game… I strongly urge you enter yourself into a Real Housewives show because you’re all kinds of crazy.

#33 will be the Eastern Conference starting Center in the All-Star game. He will probably be a 20-10 guy for this club. He will probably severely increase the chances of Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner taking a step further in the developments of their games. He is the kind of player that hasn’t been in the First Union/Wachovia/Wells Fargo Center since Allen Iverson was traded to the Denver Nuggets.

I pray that he will resign. I think he will. Being from Plainsboro, NJ, Bynum is closer to home than he has ever been ever since he was drafted in 2005. And he’s already expressed interest in making Philly his home. Even better, there have been some reports where the Sixers’ ghost GM has already been in talks with Bynum’s agent, David Lee, about contract extension to the tune of around $80 million over 4 years.

But for now… Andrew Bynum is a stud. He’s a beast. He’s an animal. And He’s (Thank you God) a Sixer.