Barkley questions if Bynum can be the man for Sixers
When the Sixers acquired Andrew Bynum, the city of Philadelphia celebrated the arrival of a big man who instantly became labeled as the best center in the Eastern Conference — and more notably, the face of the Sixers' franchise.
If true, both are firsts for the 24-year-old Bynum.
Heading into his first go-around with the Sixers, things will be different for the 7-footer compared to his days in Los Angeles. As a Laker, Bynum was not the man — that was clearly Kobe Bryant. He wasn't the go-to force the Sixers are expecting him to be, and he may have even played third-fiddle to Pau Gasol.
And now that he's been thrust into a leading role with the Sixers, in a sports-crazed city, it's elicited skepticism from TNT analyst and ex-Sixer Charles Barkley.
"When you go from being a role player to a star, [things change]. He’s never been the best player on his team — you’re a role player,” Barkley said in an interview on NBA.com
. "I’m not sure he’s been the second-best player on his team before. It’s debatable between him and Pau Gasol. So, he goes from being the third-best player on his team to being the man. The level of intensity that that takes, the level of pressure that brings, and you compound that by Philadelphia — it’s going to be a very interesting season for Andrew Bynum.”
In 2011-12, Bynum averaged 18.7 points per game — second to Bryant — and a team-best 11.8 rebounds, compared to averages of 17.4 and 10.4 by Gasol.
“I like Andrew Bynum. I think he’s a very good player,” Barkley said. “But the stress level he’s going to come upon now is going to be totally different than anything he’s experienced in his NBA career.”
Sam Amico of FOXSports.com posed this question as the biggest for the Sixers’ 2011-12 season:
“Is Andrew Bynum capable of staying focused enough to turn into the future Hall-of-Famer the 76ers plan on him becoming in the low post?”
Barkley offered his three most glaring concerns, all of which revolved around Bynum.
“Can Andrew Bynum be the man? That’s the first question,” Barkley said. “Second question: How [are] him and Doug Collins gonna get together? And the third one is: What do you do with his financial situation?”
And before the Sixers commit their future around Bynum, Barkley believes they should wait and see how their new star performs on center stage.
“I want to see how he’s going to handle the pressure in Philly,” Barkley said. “How him and Doug Collins are going to react — those are legitimate concerns.”
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