Andrew Bynum and Evan Turner took the court together with the Indiana Pacers for the first time on March 11. Once the Philadelphia 76ers hoped Bynum and Turner would lead them together, but both flamed out of Philadelphia in haunting fashion. Yet while the Sixers are flaming out even worse, Bynum and Turner are in good shape with the Pacers anyway, as they helped Indiana snap its longest losing streak of the season against the Boston Celtics.
The Pacers' 94-83 win may not have been perfect, but it was better than the four straight losses they suffered beforehand. Likewise, Bynum may have only played 16 minutes in his first game for Indiana, yet it was among the best 16 minutes he has played in over a year, as he tallied eight points and 10 rebounds. As for Turner, he had nine points on 4-for-4 shooting in over 23 minutes off the bench.
Bynum's debut was a glimpse at the kind of player the Sixers threw away their future for almost two years ago. When he came to Philadelphia in summer 2012, he and Turner looked poised to be the future leaders of the Sixers together. Of course, Bynum never played a game with the Sixers and Turner never took the next step forward, which led to him being traded away last month.
Bynum's knees made him a franchise killing liability, while former No. 2 draft pick Turner became a cautionary tale for when the Sixers pick high in this summer's draft. Yet while Philadelphia is set for years of painful rebuilding -- which now includes a 17-game losing streak - their two biggest disappointments of the recent era could still make out with championship rings in Indiana.
The Pacers haven't looked like champions in recent days, although they are lucky the Miami Heat haven't either. Will Bynum and Turner be difference makers that put Indiana over the top in a conference finals rematch with Miami, or will they live down to their potential yet again?
These are questions the Pacers will answer over the next few months. At the least, they are better questions than the one the Sixers face -- such as whether they will ever win another game. Philadelphia will try to answer yes when it hosts the Sacramento Kings on March 12.