The Lakers had concerns about Andrew Bynum’s maturity and ability to be the franchise anchor after Kobe Bryant stepped away. Not huge concerns — if Dwight Howard had not been available Bynum would still be a Laker — but they were there.
Sixers coach Doug Collins doesn’t have those concerns. At least that’s what he told the Philadelphia Daily News in a Q&A.
I have zero concern. One thing is I never judge a man from a distance. Sometimes people want to pull out one or two things . . . but you could pull out things on all the great players in the NBA. Andrew is an incredibly well-spoken young guy. He’s articulate, he’s bright, he’s smart and he knows the game. I think he’s happy to be home. He just got a place in the suburbs here and said he loves being here on the East Coast. I think he views this as a great opportunity to be viewed as a central figure on a team every single night that’s going to count on him. I think he views this as a step in his career where he really has a chance to show what he’s all about. He’s got a good sense of humor. I feel really good about him.
Bynum is bright (he’s well read and has built his own computers) and he does have a good sense of humor. He can be mature for his age. But he also was prone to bouts of immaturity, of lack of effort if he wasn’t the focus, of acting without thinking (ask J.J. Barea).
Now Bynum is the focus and we’re going to see how he handles it. We’re going to see how he deals with the first time a Philly tabloid turns on him and rips him in a column or headline. How he handles the first time the fans let him hear it. Now is when Bynum’s real test begins, when his real legacy is made.
And Collins, he has no choice but to be committed to Bynum, to trust him, to prop him up. The Sixers are all in on this strategy, there is no turning back now. It’s a good strategy, a smart one. But the road is not going to be smooth.