It’s been interesting listening to the differing opinions about who is better, Dwight Howard or the Sixers’ Andrew Bynum (or Da-rue, as Doug Collins has taken to calling him to differentiate from Jrue Holiday).
If you tuned into ESPN’s First Take earlier this week you heard Stephen A. Smith touting Howard over Bynum. Smith’s foil, Skip Bayless, maintains, as he did when Bynum was in Los Angeles, that Bynum is the better center.
Shaquille, who seems to be fighting the angst that some athletes deal with (rather poorly) when the sun has set on his career, suggested that not only was Bynum better (debatable), but that Brook Lopez is also better (absurd) than Howard.
The Sixers I’ve talked to are firmly in their teammate’s camp. This includes Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Dorell Wright and Jason Richardson (who has played with Howard). One of them even went as far to say that Bynum, who will be their first option rather than the third, as he was in Los Angeles, could average 25 points this season.
The good thing about this is that, as far as the Sixers are concerned, what’s being said by others outside of their locker room hasn’t altered their opinion about their teammate, which should help them this season.
It’s sort of like a placebo effect, which is exactly what the Sixers want. It’s about building confidence and developing chemistry. If you think your guy is better, that’s going to help the team down the road. It might not be true (remember, the Sixers got Bynum as a result of their early pursuit of Howard), but if the Sixers believe in Bynum that bodes even better for him when he returns.
Speaking of Bynum, he looks to be in great condition. He’s trim. He’s engaging his teammates and coaches. And if they were playing games right now, Bynum would be out there.