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Before even reading the text, just looking at the numbers, I was blown away by a few things:

-Curry averages 0.8 bpg for his career. I would have pegged him at much lower, honestly. In fact, even when he was playing limited minutes in Chicago, he was once able to get up and block around a shot a game. Wow.

-Dalembers career average in rpg (7.6) is much lower than I expected.

Okay, on to the actual thoughts:
-It's not really fair to compare Curry to Dalembert this year, since Curry's minutes (27 mpg) are much lower than they were last season, and lower than Dalembert's this season. That is to say, when Curry plays "starter" minutes (35 mpg), he does average 7 rpg. Poor no doubt, but better than 5 rpg.

Ditto, if he was playing more minutes, and getting a few more passes inside, his ppg would probably be back up in the 19 ppg range.

His first two years in NY, his FG% (56.3 and 57.6) and FTA/gm (6.8 and 8.1) indicates that he can be a more effective scorer than he has shown thus far this season.

More important, they represent two different types of players, right? Curry is the rare, very effective post presence. The only player as effective as him in the post is Amare Stoudemire (who is, obviously, way better in every other way). He's the only other guy who I can think who can get the ball as much as Curry does, and score as high a FG% as Curry (STATS' FG% is higher, in fact).

Amare also averages a whopping 1 assist per game. Good lord, he must suck, right? No, of course not. I've said it before, so I don't know why you insist on doing it, but... Curry is not suppose to get assists. He's suppose to do three things when he gets the ball down low - score quickly, draw a foul, or kick it out when he gets doubled. Being that the Knicks don't really have a spot shooter, even when he does kick it out (I've tracked it, he does sometimes kick it out!), it won't result in an assist in most cases. It will result in an open shoot, especially if the Knicks swing it, but the perimeter offense is so poor (Richardson can't hit a wide-open shoot, for example) that it will almost never result in an assist. Put him on a team with Phoenix perimeter shooters (Raja Bell, Nash), and Curry would get at least one or two assists a game. Not that it should matter. He job is to finish, not distribute or create.

The turnovers are a big problem. He sometimes holds the ball too long, leading to the double team, and the ineviatable turnover. That happens maybe twice a game. The other turnovers are usually either poor handling of a rebound (he gets stripped sometimes on rebounds) or poor passes from teammates. Again, he's never played with a bonifide point guard. Dalembert plays with a great guard in Miller, and another great passer in Iguodala.

Despite having the great passing on the 76ers (add in Lou Williams, too), Dalembert can barely score double figures.

He falls in the same class as Ben Wallace, Tyson Chandler, Andris Biedrins, Emeka Okafor and Marcus Camby. Those are "defense-only" centers. In those regards, he's inferior to almost every one of those players, except maybe the injured and struggling Wallace this year.

Curry is "offense-only" center. He falls in the same class as Stoudemire (a horrible defender), Yao, and Brad Miller. Curry is worse than those guys (except maybe Miller).

Neither guy is anything special, and both are potentially overpaid, though both are also tradeable to a team that needs their skill sets. Those teams are limited for both players (maybe 6-8 teams that could use Curry, and about the same number for Dalembert).

I believe Eddy Curry has come closer to an All-Star appearance than Dalembert. I think Eddy Curry, if given the minutes, would be a stronger player than Dalembert. And I believe there are at least 10 to 15 centers in the league right now better than both of these guys.

And neither team is doing much, record-wise, to support the argument that either has much value.

So no, I am not a "Curry defender"; I tell it like I see it. He's not a great player, but he is great at one thing (getting position, and finishing), and players that are great at one thing can be valuable. He's incredibly effective on offense. Dalembert is great at blocking shots and good at rebounding (not a rarity among big men in the NBA). What Curry is great at is much rarer.

His defense, though criticized, is not the problem... he covers his guy generally, and gets them into foul trouble. Rarely do you see opposing centers dominate the Knicks. It's the perimeter guards that do, almost nightly.

For all these reasons, I think Curry is a slightly better player than Dalembert. I would say that, however, it really depends on what kind of team you have, and what your needs are. Oddly enough, if you swapped the two players, I think it would improve both teams a bit, since the Knicks are positively begging for a shot-blocker, and the 76ers could use more offense from their big men.

Great analysis by both of them, I find Curry horrible despite SML (good) points and think Sam is still improving while the other is exponencially (?) getting worse so 2 yrs from now the two of them won't even be compared

Brian, I just added new features and a Carney poll on my blog, would like to know your vote, LOL

Great analysis by both of you guys, I find Curry horrible despite SML's (good) points and think Sam is still improving while the other is exponencially (?) getting worse so 2 yrs from now the two of them won't even be compared

Brian, I just added new features and a Carney poll on my blog, would like to know where your vote goes, LOL

sorry, double comment, delete the first one

I would add that Ricky is potentially right - Curry's "development" has back tracked this season, due to the addition of Randolph, and the offense moving away from Curry as the centerpiece. From a team standpoint, this would be fine if the Knicks had a more reliable go-to guy, but because they don't... well, the record speaks for itself.

That being said, Curry's numbers, relative to the minutes played, aren't that far off their normal pace. Meaning: If Curry was playing 35 mpg game like last year, instead of 27 mpg (a 25% difference), he would probably be averaging 7 rpg, and at least 17-18 ppg. If he was playing more minutes, you might also see an uptick in production, i.e. his FG% might increase, and more realistic, his FTA would go up. Curry plays 35 mpg, he's probably going to give you around 19/7.

If you take expectations out of it, i.e. flip the draft position of Curry and Dalembert (#1 and #26)... most people would be okay with Curry giving them a 19/7 a night, and an efficient one at that. And most people would be disappointed that Dalembert is only good for 10/10 with 2 blocks.

It's the expectations that warp this discussion.

That, and the perception (absolutely accurate) that Curry doesn't care about improving, or hustling.

This is really no contest. Defense wins championships. Not that neither team is even close but the team with the defensive center is much closer and is heading in the right decision. I often watch the Knicks play and I think the addition of Zach has hurt his numbers and effectiveness.

He is a big baby and when he doesn't get the ball he is ineffective in every way. Last year double teams were in everyone's gameplan and he looked like the most dominating back to the basket big man in the east (Shaq was out of the walker then). Maybe you can attribute his dip to the Knicks "organization".

Sorry I missed most of this, been sick in bed all day, but here's my reaction.

SML,

First, I didn't compare their stats this year alone, I basically averaged last year and this year when comparing. I think that's a fair barometer for Curry because he played too many minutes last year. His 27/game this year is most likely a result of his conditioning as much as Isiah's coaching decisions. He's not getting any thinner.

If you put his minutes somewhere between last year and this year, you've got 16 ppg and 6 rpg. So about 5 points better than Dalembert, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks worse. That's how I came up with those numbers.

I also think you're undervaluing Dalembert's numbers across the board. In 2006 only Camby, Okafur and Yao matched his numbers in points, rebounds and blocks at the center position. This year, only Kaman, Camby and Dwight Howard are close.

Rarely do you see opposing centers dominate the Knicks. It's the perimeter guards that do, almost nightly.

Do you think this might have something to do with the Knicks having a center who never even challenges shots at the tin? The Knicks perimeter players have two choices, they can play up on their man and let him drive by them for easy layups all day long because Curry isn't going to challenge their shots. Or they can lay off their man, giving themselves space to stop the drive and leave them wide open for jumpers. Neither is really a sound defensive strategy.

Dalembert's offense is markedly better than Chandler, Ben Wallace, Biedrins and probably on par with Camby and Okafur. None of those guys has the range Dalembert does. Only Camby blocks more shots than Dalembert from that group as well. They're all probably better rebounders than Sammy. He was #8 among centers who played more than 25 minutes per game last year in rebounds/40 minutes. All of those guys were ahead of him.

Overall, here are the centers I'd put ahead of Dalembert:

- Dwight Howard
- Chris Kaman
- Yao Ming
- Amare Stoudemire
and probably Bynum in the near future

Guys in the same class as Dalembert, and the next level on this list:

- Chandler
- Okafur (although he spends most of his time at the 4)
- Camby
- Ilgauskus

You could put Dalembert anywhere in that second group and make an argument for it. He's definitely in the top ten in the league. Curry is nowhere near it. As far as All Star Game appearances, Dalembert has earned it this year.

I think you'd find way more than 6-8 teams interested in trading for Dalembert. I don't think you'd find more than 1 or 2 who'd be willing to take Curry off the Knicks hands, and it wouldn't be a deal that was favorable to NY. Maybe someone would trade a longer, worse contract than his for him, but you aren't going to be getting cap relief or picks in return. He's regressing terribly, and it has to do with a lot more than Randolph's addition to the team.

SML I love how you defend your opinion, that leads to a nice discussion

but I have a problem to the "if XXX plays more minutes" argument, because there must be a reason if his minutes are going down

I mean Manute Bol would have blocked 30 shots per game probably had he played 48 minutes but he was a specialist for a reason... not comparing Bol to Curry or Sam, you got my point though :-)

BTW speaking of centers I am watching Orl-Hou while typing this, and the Yao-Howard duel is a pleasure to watch, those guys are on another planet

Brian's last comment is perfect and I have nothing to add. Actually maybe I would rank Ilgauskas lower than Sam right now, while Camby is still better

I think maybe you need to watch the video of last night's games. Curry dominated the best player in the league, Tim Duncan, yesterday, shooting 10/12, drawing fouls, scoring 25, and "holding" Duncan to to 5/16 for 12 points.

How did he "hold" Duncan? Because the only centers that really do well on Curry are the perimeter guys, like Miller and Ilgaukas. Duncan hit a few bankers when he faced up Curry, but he couldn't do anything otherwise. Not because Curry is good defensively (he's not), but because even getting around someone that big, regardless of how slow he is, left Duncan out of place on several layups, which he then missed. Or trying to back Curry down made him too easy to double team.

Curry even outrebounded Duncan, showing that on those rare occasions he tries, he's able to make a huge impact on the game. The Knicks almost beat the Spurs (they were twice down one point with less than a minute to go in the game) yesterday, a large part of which because of Curry's impact. Watch the game.

Now, how did Dalembert do against Bynum yesterday? ;) Maybe you might want to put young Bynum ahead of Sammy now, not "in the future" ;)

And yeah, I wish Curry could block and be more of a presence on the help defense. It would help the team greatly. But nobody said Curry was complete. You know, if Curry could block, and rebound a little better, he would arguably be one of the top-4 centers in the league; but he doesn't, so he's not.

But neither is Dalembert.

I still don't know why I should hold it against him that he doesn't cover up the perimeter guards' horrible defense. So, because Jamal Crawford could guard a scarecrow, I'm suppose to hold that against Curry?!?

I can hold him accountable for his lazy efforts, for his unwillingness to hustle after rebounds, for his bad FT shooting, and for his slowness when he's guarding perimeter/jump-shooting centers (Miller, Ilgaukas, Boozer). But I don't need to hold it against him that opposing guards get easy layups due to shoddy perimeter defense. And I don't need to hold it against him that he doesn't get more "assists".

That's like getting mad at Dalembert for not grabbing more rebounds (he should, after all, since he doesn't do anything else on offense, unless you count his 10 ppg and 0.4 career apg as "offense").

I'm willing to bet that Dalembert will give up more 30 point games to centers this year (like the one yesterday to Bynum) than Curry will. Curry will get that beat badly by Dwight Howard, and Boozer, and that's about it.

It figures that Dalembert would have his worst game of the year and Curry would have his best the day I write this post.

Anyway, Duncan's poor game last night, from what I saw, came from his failure to hit wide-open jumpers from the free throw line, not from Curry's "defense." Curry was at least 10 feet away from him on 5 attempts in the third and fourth quarters, he just bricked them.

My point about Curry not helping out is that having him on floor makes the entire team's defense worse, not just the defense he plays on his man. Like it or not, part of being a big man is helping out and at least changing shots, if not blocking them. If you're saying Curry would be valuable to a really good team that could use him off the bench to play 15 minutes a game and score down low, I'd probably agree with you. If you're saying he's a legitimate top ten center as a starter, you're wrong. His offensive efficiency, when he's motivated (which you have to admit, doesn't happen all that often) is canceled out, or at the very least minimized by his deficiencies in every other area of the game.

If you want to point to last night's games to prove a point, fine. I can give you about 20 other games from this season which will prove my points. After 82, we can see whose theory has been proven out.


I never said Curry was a top ten center. In fact, I said there were probably about 15 centers better right now than both him and Dalembert. Which is my point... neither is good enough to warrant the cash they get, or to win the argument that one is better than the other. And neither has even contributed to a winning team yet (well, Curry did for one season back in Chicago).

For now, I'll rated Curry slightly higher because his potential (as seen in the Spurs game) is much higher, and because its easier to find players to make up for his deficiencies (David Lee and Randolph more than make up for his lack of rebounding; if only the Knicks could find a Sean Williams-type to make up for his lack of blocks. It's much harder to find another front court player to make up for Dalembert's lack of offense).

On the other hand, and I said this earlier... both teams would be better off with the other teams' center. The Knicks need a shot blocker, and the 76ers could use a low post presence.

Yeah but Curry could out eat Dalembert any day of the week in a competitive eating contest....

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stephen on Oct 9 at 1:02
+/-

As it turns out, Dalembert wins this debate. Or, more accurately, Curry loses.


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