Dwight Howard is finally on his way of Orlando and Celtics fans can breathe a collective sigh of relief that the Celtics will no longer have to counter the franchise talent in the middle. More importantly, it removes a Magic team from Eastern Conference contention, which is one less team to worry about in the post season.
After all, the Magic did knock out the Celtics in 2009 during their Finals run, defeating the Kevin Garnett-less C’s in seven games. The Celtics took care of business against Orlando in 2010, but for a team that felt so confident in dealing away defensive stalwart Kendrick Perkins, it must be nice to know that D12 is no longer in the East.
The bad news, of course, is that while the Magic have now removed themselves from title contention and given up a franchise talent in doing so, is that another team got significantly better from this move…
The Sixers just added Andrew Bynum, the second best center in the league, as a result of the four team trade. They lost Andre Iguodala, who has been a defensive demon on a team that has prided itself on defense, but Bynum is a franchise talent, and is still only 24 years old. Adding Bynum to a talented young core that includes Ohio State standout Evan Turner and borderline All-Star Jrue Holiday makes the Sixers a team of the future. They did lose a great talent in big man Nikola Vucevic, but you can’t make an omelette without breaking some eggs, right?
The Sixers shocked (OK, so maybe shocked isn’t quite the right word) the world by upsetting the #1 seed in the 2012 Playoffs, dispatching of the Derrick Rose-less Bulls in the first round. Still, they knew after barely making the Playoffs that while their team was good, it wasn’t good enough to stay in win-now mode. The result was amnestying the aged and ineffective Elton Brand and dealing away the 28 year old Iguodala for a much younger much more franchise changing talent in Bynum.
So what could a potential Sixers lineup look like?
PG- Jrue Holiday
SG- Evan Turner
SF- Thaddeus Young
PF- Lavoy Allen
C- Andrew Bynum
Is that a team that can contend? No. Not next year anyway. But looking down the road, it is a very good team. It’s a team that features two very underrated players in Allen & Young, a potential All-Star in Turner, and what could form a very deadly pick and roll combination in the aforementioned Holiday & Bynum. The Sixers are about to be very good indeed, though adding role players and continuing to let what they now have develop will be key.
So, in short, the Celtics lose one rival in the Magic, but gain another in the Sixers. The two teams will be Atlantic division rivals for years to come, unless C’s GM Danny Ainge does finally intend to implode the building and completely rebuild. Some may say that is inevitable, but San Antonio has remained near the top for over a decade without rebuilding, so I wouldn’t jump to such conclusions. At the very minimum, the Atlantic Division just got much tougher.
For Sixers fans, it might not even be best that Andrew Bynum is now the go to talent at center, but rather that they will no longer have to endure the agony of watching Doug Collins attempt to start the failure that is Kwame Brown at center, as he said he had intended to.