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I was hoping against hope that I wouldn't have to write this preview. In a perfect world (or at least a world where teams let bloggers choose starting lineups, at least) Willie Green would not be starting this game. In fact, he'd be the 9th man, only called upon when instant offense was needed above all else. But we don't live in that world, and if Thad Young does start, it won't be Willie who takes a seat. Obviously, the advantage goes to Rip Hamilton here, but there are still a few interesting wrinkles to note. Here are the links to the other positions: PG, C, PF and SF.

Check after the jump for the juicy stuff...
The Stats

Willie Green

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Rip Hamilton

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Season Stats: Absolutely nothing in Green's favor here. Moving on...

Head-To-Head: Willie actually had an advantage here i just about every category, including turnovers. We'll get into why down below..

When Philadelphia Has The Ball

This is a classic chicken/egg question. Does Willie play well against Detroit because of the hometown factor, or does Willie play well against Detroit because Rip Hamilton is "guarding" him? If Willie is knocking down his open jumpers he will light up Hamilton. There's no doubt about that. Rip is a phantom defender. He has decent quickness so I think it must be a lack of desire to defend coupled with zero strength. Either way, he can't contain Willie. The only thing that can stop Willie is Willie himself, through bad shot-selection and/or his horrible shooting touch.

When Detroit Has The Ball

This end of the court is a huge problem. As bad as Rip is on defense, he's that good on offense. He's going to run will over, under, through and around screens all night long. Every time Willie makes a bad decision (which happens almost every time down the court) Rip will get a clean look and he will knock it down. If you look Rip's shooting numbers from the March 12th game you'll notice he was basically shut down. This happened because Willie did not play. Iguodala spent most of the game matched up with Rip and did a great job on the screens. Thad and Iguodala communicated and switched a lot of them. Willie Green and Reggie Evans will not do that. This is a nightmare match-up and we can only hope that Willie's shot is falling so he can offset some of the damage he does with his porous defense.

The Advantage

There's no hedging here. Whenever Willie is on the court he is a detriment. Even his most productive offensive games usually only result an even plus/minus. Rip is an elite shooter and his teammates help make up for his deficiencies in every other area of the game. Until a miracle happens, and Mo removes Willie from the starting lineup, the Sixers are going to have to figure out a way to make up for this mismatch at another position.









by Brian on Apr 20 2008
Tags: Basketball | Pistons | Playoffs | Rip Hamilton | Sixers | Willie Green |