Kyrie Irving v. George Hill
Like our last match up, we are pleased to see that we once again have a significant edge at PG. While Hill is an average defender, he simply does not have the lateral quickness to stay in front of quick guards like Irving. Last year Hill showed he was effective defender against the pick and roll but struggled to defend the spot up shot. Last season Hill gave up close to a full point per possession on spot up shots and we plan to take advantage of that. Irving shot close to 40% from beyond the arch last year so it is imperative that Hill gets out on him but when he does, Irving has the quickness and speed to get by him and beat him to the basket. On defense we admit Irving is not a good defender at all but at the same time he is simply not going up against a strong offensive player to make any significant impact on the series. Hill shot 36% from beyond the arch last season which is not a good enough number to warrant Irving playing him tight on the perimeter. We expect Hill will post his typical averages in this series and not much more than that as his past track record has yet to suggest otherwise
Advantage: Bondi Beach
Thabo Sefolosha v. Lebron James:
I am not going to try and argue we have the answer to shutting down Lebron James in this series; that is simply an argument that we are not prepared to make. With that being said, we do feel that we have a perimeter defender in Thabo who at the very least can help slow him down. Thabo has the right combination of agility, quickness and size on defense to stay with Lebron and contain him as much as possible. The one benefit we have with Lebron in this series is the lack of perimeter scorers on Westwood. On offense, Thabo will be expected to knock down his outside shots. Last season he shot 43% from the outside so we feel confident in his abilities in that area.
Mike Dunleavy v. Wes Matthews:
Like our PG match up, we feel very confident about this one as well. Last year Wesley Matthews was simply an average basketball player. He struggled at times offensively and it showed in his percentages. Last year he shot a .539 TS% and a .496 eFG%; both numbers are below the league average. He also posted a very pedestrian 14.1 PER last season after having much more productive seasons in his first two years in the league. Perhaps the most alarming number about Matthews last season was his struggles to hit anything inside the arch. Last year, Matthews shot 43.4% on 2s which was the worst percentage amongst all shooting guards. He simply has difficulty finishing anything near the rim and converting on much of anything around the key. He is also is not a threat to get to the line either (averaging only 2.3 attempts per game) which makes us even more comfortable about this match up.
On the other side we have the extremely efficient Mike Dunleavy. Last year Dunleavy posted terrific shooting percentages posting a .597 TS% while converting on 40% of his 3 point attempts. Dunleavy also happens to be a good defender as well as evidence by the fact that the Bucks gave up 5.6 fewer points per 100 possessions with him on the floor. Also last year, Dunleavy held his check to a 11.7 PER last season and is more than capable of holding down the one dimensional Matthews.
Zach Randolph v. Ryan Anderson
This is where we win the match up. No matter how you cut it, both Randolph and Gortat are going to post big numbers in this series. We will get to Andersonís offense shortly but we have to discuss just how badly Anderson will get abused in the post in this series. Last year, Anderson simply could not defend the post for the life of him. He gave up 0.96 PPP on post up plays which was good for 220th best in the league and he is going up against one of the leagueís best low post scorers in Randolph. We plan to get Randolph involved early in the offense and get him his looks against Anderson throughout the game. We feel that Anderson simply does not have the size and strength to bang with ZBO or Gortat down low. Also consider that Anderson is poor rebounder as evidence by his low defensive rebound rate which placed him 61st amongst power forward. Also it just so happens that both Gortat and ZBo are strong offensive rebounders which should create a lot of second chance opportunities for our team. Defensively we will be putting Gortat on Anderson. Yes Anderson was a very good offensive player last season but he also does not have the luxury of having Dwight Howard anymore. Also most of Andersonís offensive plays are off spot up shots (35%). But it just so happens we have Gortat to defend Anderson in this area and last season Gortat posted terrific numbers against spot up shooters yielding only .81 PPP. We feel we have a terrific player in Gortat to neutralize the effectiveness of the spot up shooting Anderson.
Advantage: Bondi Beach
Marcin Gortat v. Marcus Camby
As we just showed, Ryan Anderson leaves a lot to be desired defensively. So no matter who he defends (Gortat or ZBO), that player is sure to have a big series. In this match up, we have a talented two way center going up against the aging and slow footed Marcus Camby. Yes Camby is a good post defender but it is the rest of his defensive game that is the issue. We plan to get Camby to defend a lot of P&R plays due to the massive success Gortat has in that area. Last year Gortat posted 1.23 PPP last season on P&R which was good enough for 30th best in the league. Irving also happens to be a great pick and roll guard which makes this match up all that much more exciting an in our favor due to fact that Irving can come close to replicating the same success Gortat had in Phoenix. We also expect that Gortat will see lots of opportunities on isolation plays where he had good success last season. Additionally; Gortat also happens to be a great rebounder finishing among the top 12 amongst centers in defensive rebound rate so we know we our rim is well protected. Defensively we are putting ZBO on Camby which we are very pleased about. ZBO continues to improve as a defender but will have an easy time with the offensively limited Marcus Camby.
Advantage: Bondi Beach
We have a great sixth man in Redick who back-ups Thabo (similar situation to Thaboís real life situation in OKC). Redick was simply fantastic last season on offense. He shot 41.8 percent on 3s and as Per Hollinger he actually became a great ball handler as well.Ē At this point he's almost a point guard, ranking fifth among shooting guards in pure point rating while sporting one of the lowest turnover rates at his positionĒ. Redick is really the big difference on the bench in this series as he is the only on either team capable of making a significant impact in the series. Additionally we also have Ian Mahinmi who was very avlauble to Dallasís defense after the loss of Tyson Chandler. He is capable of guarding any big on Westwood. We also have Jason Smith at our disposable in this series who posted 10 and 6 last year for the Hornets. Kleiza and Livingston round out the bench and both offer additional bench scoring and defense. Westwood conversely has Cook and Webster on the wings that were not even a part of their respective teamís rotations. I donít know who is going to step up for Westwood in this one as nobody is as consistent offensive threat on their bench.
Advantage: Bondi Beach
Overall we feel we have the team that can knock Lebron and company put of the playoffs. We have two low post scorers in Gortat and ZBO who will dominate the low post and the rebounding differential in the series. We also have the perimeter defender in Thabo to slow down Lebron and a star PG in Irving that can create offense and take the game in his hands if need be.
Good Luck Westwood.