Still plenty of time for Bynum to prove his worth

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Still plenty of time for Bynum to prove his worth

The news surrounding Andrew Bynum was quite positive on Monday. However, when I tweeted about it one fan simply replied, blah, blah, blah.
I cant really blame him or any Sixers fan who is skeptical of Bynums progress. Since receiving an outpouring of love upon his arrival in August, many fans seem to have soured on Bynum. Thats to be expected. Im disappointed too, but I firmly believe we will see Bynum in a Sixers uniform and be able to judge for ourselves just how valuable a piece he can be to the franchise's future.
Bynum said on Monday that Its time to get ready to play and that he is aiming for a return around the NBA's All-Star weekend, which is Feb. 15-17. The Sixers have 31 games after the midseason break, which is plenty of time for Bynum to showcase his talent.
Since word came out that Bynum would be sidelined for an extended period of time, Ive always felt that if the Sixers could maintain a record somewhere around .500, they would have a chance to make some noise in the playoffs. Presently, the Sixers are 16-22 on the season, four games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
With 11 of their next 12 games at home, this is a critical stretch for head coach Doug Collins' bunch. If his team responds in a favorable way, this might not end up being a lost season after all. However, there is very little room for error.
The jury is still out, but I still believe the blockbuster trade was worth the risk. If Bynum cant play meaningful games this season, itll be a serious question mark around whether the Sixers re-sign him this summer. That would be a shame because seven-footers with a skill set like Bynum's are a rarity in the NBA.
E-mail Neil Hartman at nhartman@comcastsportsnet.com.

Sixers name Elton Brand as Player Development Consultant

Sixers name Elton Brand as Player Development Consultant

Elton Brand is back with the Sixers, albeit not on the court.

The Sixers agreed with the former NBA forward to name Brand Player Development Consultant. In a press release, the team said Brand will be working with Sixers players in 'every facet of their on- and off-court development' while also working in the front office.

“We are extremely excited to bring Elton Brand back into the organization where he will be a valuable resource to our young and developing team," Bryan Colangelo said in the release. "Elton’s leadership and character displayed throughout his playing career as a player align perfectly with our vision, direction and culture of this basketball team, coaching staff and management group."

Brand retired during training camp after 17 NBA seasons, including five with the Sixers over two stints. The 6-foot-8 forward came out of retirement last season to provide a veteran presence for the Sixers and eventually played in 17 games when the team was snakebitten by injuries. 

He will now continue to be an influence on the Sixers' young core thanks to his new role with the basketball operations department.

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Being immersed in the team is important for Nerlens Noel, and so is continuing his rehab. 

While the Sixers are on the road for three days to play the Grizzlies and Pelicans, Noel will remain in Philadelphia to work out at the training complex in Camden, New Jersey. The team is not scheduled to practice in between games, so staying back allows Noel another day to get on the court.

“[I want him to] just start playing more and have a ball in his hands, get hit, physical, feel people, play one-on-one,” head coach Brett Brown said.

Noel has yet to play this season because of elective arthroscopic left knee surgery in October. He rejoined the Sixers after completing the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Alabama. There still is no timetable for his return. 

Brown has said there is a “classroom” element to Noel’s return. He has to learn a roster with new players and schemes. 

The on-the-court side of it is a reacclimation to the intensity of the league. Regardless of how many games Noel already has played in the NBA, there is an adjustment period getting back into the grind of the competition. Brown believes the time in the gym this week will help Noel prepare for the level of intensity he will face in his return. 

“It’s such fool’s gold to think somebody’s going to jump back into NBA basketball after you haven’t played for so long. I don’t care how athletic he is,” Brown said. “It’s a man’s world, this league, and there’s a physicality and there’s a real-time reaction you have to have to play in the game. You can’t make that up in practice, you can’t make that up playing one-on-one, but you can better position him instead of just going out to get shots. I want him to feel a body, get hit, hit back, play one-on-one, those types of things.”

Noel had been assigned to the Sixers’ Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers, to get in practice time when the Sixers had a game. The Sixers may forego another assignment and keep Noel at their facility as the Sevens also have two games in the next three days.