Our second positional breakdown features the Haitian Sensation, Samuel Dalembert, against Antonio McDyess. Each plays the center position in a very different way. While the point guard battle
may not go the Sixers way, I think this one is lopsided in our favor. After the jump we'll dive into the stats and the strengths/weaknesses of each player.
Sammy put up better numbers than McDyess across the board this season. As he's gotten older and seen his freakish athletic skills diminish McDyess has increasingly depended on his jumper for scoring and position for rebounds. Sammy continues to improve all areas of his game year-over-year.Head-To-Head:
Sammy had the edge in head-to-head match-ups as well. In three of the four games he owned the boards and provided tough interior defense. McDyess' impact was negligible in all but one game.When Philadelphia Has The Ball
Typically, McDyess won't be guarding Dalembert when the Sixers have the ball, it will be Rasheed Wallace. Sammy's effectiveness on this end of the floor depends largely on how and where his teammates get him the ball. If he gets it around the foul line, facing the hoop, he has a nice touch and can knock down that jumper. If he's getting the ball right at the rim via a lob, he can finish with ease. If he's getting the ball on the low blocks with his back to the basket, most of the time he's going to struggle. McDyess doesn't provide much of shot-blocking presence, but he does take up space and grab his fair share of boards. Most likely, McDyess will have an easy match-up in Reggie Evans, although Evans will make the big man work to keep him off the offensive glass.When Detroit Has The Ball
McDyess is a specialist at this point. Occasionally he'll break free for an open dunk, but most of his work comes on spot-up jumpers within the offense or off the pick-and-pop. He's developed a nice touch, especially from around the foul line or along the baseline. Reggie Evans will probably be guarding him and Reggie's tendency to lose his assignment could provide some room for McDyess to knock down his shot. Sammy will be trying to stick with Rasheed Wallace, which creates problems in a couple of ways. The preference would be to turn 'Sheed into an outside shooter, something he's more than willing to do in most cases. He's got the low post moves, and if the Pistons fed him down there he could take over games with high-percentage turnaround J's, instead he tends to roam on the perimeter looking to knock down threes. It's preferable to see him out on the perimeter, but he knocks down threes at 36% so Sammy can't just leave him. He's going to get sucked away from the hoop at times. This could limit his effectiveness as a help defender and shot blocker.The Advantage
While not without his faults (stone hands), Sammy has elevated his game greatly this season and become one of the better centers in the league. While he does seem to float through stretches of games, from late January on he concentrated on staying out of early foul trouble and then dominating in the fourth quarter. His defense down the stretch has anchored a Sixers team who learned how to finish teams off in the fourth quarter. His rebounding and blocked shots keyed countless fast breaks and on offense he's learned to work his way open around the hoop for easy dunks from Miller and Iguodala. This position is the biggest advantage for the Sixers, and they really need Sammy to take advantage. His last playoff appearance impressed the Sixers enough to give him a huge contract, now he's going to have to earn it. I'm expecting big things from the Sensation in this series. From McDyess, I'm not expecting that much. In fact, I'm still trying to figure out why he averaged almost 30 minutes/game when the Pistons had a young big man who brings a lot more to the table in Jason Maxiell.Up next
: Reggie Evans vs. Rasheed Wallace