Andrew Bynum: How Center's Return Will Impact Philadelphia 76ers

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2013

Oct 17, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Andrew Bynum (33) (in street cloths) sits next to center Dan Gadzuric (14) at the end of the bench during the third quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Wachovia Center. The Sixers defeated the Cavaliers 113-99. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers traded for Andrew Bynum with the hope that he would turn the team into a contender.

After months of dealing with injuries, he should finally get a chance to show what he can do.

Jason Wolf of USA Today reported that the center did not know when he would return to practice, but he is still planning on debuting "right after the All-Star break."

Bynum was also excited about the fact that he was able to dunk in practice. 

If he is able to return to the court for the second half of the season, he will make a huge difference for the 76ers.

Philadelphia is currently 19-26, a full three games out of the playoffs behind the Boston Celtics. This is not what they were expecting coming into the season.

The 76ers have struggled at scoring with consistency and are tied for third worst in points per game. They are also ranked 25th in rebound differential.

Fortunately, these are things that Bynum can fix immediately.

When he is healthy, the former Los Angeles Laker is one of the best big men in the NBA. He is a great scorer around the basket and will be able to provide some balance to the Philadelphia offense.

So far this season, Philadelphia has gotten most of its points from the perimeter. Jrue Holiday has been outstanding this season, and Evan Turner, Nick Young and Jason Richardson have been good as well. 

However, Thaddeus Young has been the only player who can put up points consistently inside. This would not be a problem if he were not actually a wing playing out of position.

Bynum will provide much more of a presence inside, and it will force defenses to give attention to the man in the paint. This will open up plenty of space for Holiday and the rest of the guards to score.

Combine this with the fact that the center averaged 18.7 points per game last year, and Philadelphia's scoring woes should be over.

In addition, he is going to help a lot on the glass. He will replace the minutes of Lavoy Allen and Spencer Hawes, two players who have combined to average fewer rebounds per game than Bynum had himself last season. 

Finally, the overall presence of the seven-footer in the middle of the floor will help an already solid defense get even better.

Bynum will completely transform this team going forward. He perfectly fills the weaknesses of the squad and turns them into strengths.

With the Celtics likely to fade following the injury to Rajon Rondo, Philadelphia will have an opening for a playoff spot. Now that Bynum is apparently healthy, this is a group that can do some serious damage in the postseason.