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The Bynum Syndrome

Posted by Eric Fisher On December 20

Fisher column logo2Remember when the purpose of trades was to make your team better?

The Sixers seem to be taking the opposite approach. Every trade they make seems to make their already-suspect roster even worse.

The latest trade of a contributing player for players who won’t help them and yet another coveted second-round draft pick occurred Friday. The Sixers got involved in a trade between the Rockets, general manager Sam Hinkie’s old organization, and the Timberwolves. The Sixers sent guard Alexey Shved, acquired from the Timberwolves last summer in the Thaddeus Young trade, packing while acquiring forward Ronny Turiaf from the Timberwolves and a second-round pick in next June’s NBA Draft and the rights to Spanish League post player Sergei Lishouk from the Rockets.

You have to wonder if the Sixers’ interest was sparked by Turiaf’s hip surgery on Tuesday. Not only does he have an expiring contract, but he will likely be sidelined for the rest of the year.

Acquiring forwards and centers who will never play for the Sixers, or at least will sit out a year with an injury, seems to be a trend. Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid, Andrei Kirilenko, Turiaf, the 32-year-old Lishouk – and I know I’m probably missing a few.

Let’s call it Andrew Bynum Syndrome.

Shved wasn’t lighting the world on fire, but he was averaging 9.9 points per game and provided an outside shooting threat, which isn’t something the Sixers have in abundance on their constantly changing roster. The Sixers get nothing in return that will help them now. Whether that second-round pick ever helps them is yet to be determined.

The Sixers made a similar trade the previous week, sending serviceable forward Brandon Davies to the Nets for Kirilenko, Jorge Gutierrez and a second-round pick in the 2020 draft. It’s yet another case of the Sixers sending away a contributing player for players who won’t help them now and a future draft pick.

What’s the motivation for these trades? Is Hinke worried the team might win too many games and damage its odds of getting the top pick in the 2015 draft? Does Hinke have an unhealthy obsession with second-round draft picks?

For those who are counting, the Sixers have four second-round draft choices in next June’s draft. That gives Hinke plenty of time to equal or exceed last draft’s total of five second-round selections. Call it journalistic laziness, but I’m not going to take the time to check how many second-round picks they have in 2020. (All right. I checked. They have two.)

The argument is the Sixers are accumulating assets. At some point, those assets are supposed to translate to success on the court.

Let’s examine the Sixers’ second-round haul from the NBA Draft this past June. The Sixers drafted K.J. McDaniels (32nd overall); Jerami Grant (39); Russ Smith (47); Vasilije Micic (52); and Nemanja Dangubic (54). The Sixers then traded Smith and Dangubic in exchange for guards Pierre Jackson and Jordan McRae, neither of whom is with the Sixers. So only McDaniels and Grant remain from the 2014 second-round treasure chest.

What’s the purpose of compiling all these second-round draft picks if they won’t produce players who can make significant contributions on the court? It’s like putting stuff in a closet while deluding yourself into believing you’ll use it in the future. In the end, all you have is a closet full of junk with little or no value.

Speaking of little or no value, tickets to Sixers games can be obtained at steep discounts. We knew the Sixers would be bad. But we didn’t know they would be this bad.

If you’ve attended all 14 home games this season … you may need psychiatric help. You also haven’t seen the Sixers win a game.

How can Hinkie takes productive pieces away from a team that has only won two games so far this season without getting anything in return that can help the Sixers this season?

Fans are supposed to have faith in Hinkie. They’re supposed to trust that he has a plan, and that his plan will work.

Maybe one day the plan will work.

Maybe one day all these second-round picks will produce a diamond in the rough.

Maybe all the players who are injured or playing overseas will transform the Sixers into a contending team.

Or maybe Hinkie is simply infatuated with obtaining players who can’t play for at least a year.

Maybe he’s contracted a case of The Bynum Syndrome.

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