Our first positional breakdown features the respective floor generals for each team. This match-up could very well determine the outcome of the series. Both Miller and Billups provide unique problems for each other, on both sides of the floor. Both teams look to their point guards to not only run the offense, but create and make their own shots when the offense stalls. Two veteran point guards with enough size and strength to guard shooting guards. Neither will be pushed around, neither will back down.
After the jump we'll dive into their head-to-head match-ups from this season, their season stats, breakdown where the strengths and weaknesses lie and decide which team has the advantage at this crucial position.
As you can see, Miller and Billups put up eerily similar numbers throughout the season. Miller was responsible for more shots, hit his FGs at a higher percentage, but contributed nothing from three. Billups was a deadly shooter from deep and from the line. Assists were a wash and Miller owned the boards. Chauncey had an edge in the ever-important assist-to-turnover ratio. Miller's workload was also much greater, 36.7 minutes to Billups' 32.4. All told, Chauncey had the statistically better season, but he also had a plethora of other options around him on offense. Miller spent a great deal of his minutes with Willie Green and Reggie Evans on the floor with him.Head-To-Head:
Both players performed well below their season averages when they met head-to-head, and there's a reason for that. Both Miller and Billups are big, strong point guards who like to use their strength and size to punish the smaller points around the league who have the misfortune of getting matched up on them one-on-one. Going against each other, they can't do that. Again, Billups gets the nod in this category, mainly because of his outside shooting.When Philadelphia Has The Ball
Billups represents a particular problem for Andre Miller in the half-court. His size and strength means Andre can't take his man down to the low blocks and punish him with his assortment of shot fakes and feints. This cuts down on Andre's effectiveness greatly. Billups quickness will also cut down on the driving lanes, especially because he knows Miller isn't a threat from deep. The key to Andre's offensive game is going to be the mid-range jumper. If his flat shot is falling, he can still put up points, and he can use the shot fake to pick up some cheap fouls on Billups as well. If his 15-footer isn't falling, it's going to be tough for Miller to get things going. He'll be better off staying out deep on the perimeter, letting Billups lay off him and using his superior court vision to find cutter and back-door opportunities. One area that's a clear advantage for Miller is the transition game. If he can get the ball in the open floor he'll either finish or find one of his wings for an easy opportunity.When Detroit Has The Ball
Every problem Billups causes for Miller on the other side of the floor is mirrored when the Pistons have the ball. Chauncey won't be able to bully Miller around and he also won't be able to blow by him off the dribble. Andre has been used as the defensive stopper on LeBron, Dwyane Wade and countless other scoring threats for big minutes all season long. He'll assume that same role for this series on Billups. The huge advantage for Billups is his outside shot. His range extends beyond the three-point line, and he's not afraid to pull the trigger from way beyond if a three is what his team needs. If Rasheed Wallace and Tayshaun Prince are drawing double teams down low, Miller needs to be sure to stick with Chauncey at the three-point line. His most-valuable asset, however, is the way he runs his team in the half court. Billups rarely turns the ball over which means the Sixers are really going to have to maximize every opportunity to run.The Advantage
Make no mistake, Andre Miller has been one of the best point guards in the league all season long. He's hit big shot after big shot. It pains me to say this, but the advantage still goes to the Pistons. Chauncey's ability to take care of the ball and hit the dagger three elevates him into the upper, upper echelon of point guards in the playoffs. I expect Miller to outplay him in a game or two, but for the most part the Sixers will be lucky if this match-up winds up as a wash.
Do you see any way Miller comes out ahead in this match-up? Is it more important for him to contain Billups or put up big points for the Sixers success?Up next
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