The sixers currently have two centers on their roster both of whom have strengths and weaknesses. I'm going to do a purely free flowing comparison of these two centers as the thoughts occur to me while I take a break from work.
Shall we proceed?
One is Samuel Dalembert, a center who has been on this team for years and still has the offensive game of my 7 year old niece who has never picked up a basketball. In fact her game would probably be better because she's smart enough to realize what she is and isn't capable of doing. Yesterday Detroit game was a perfect example of Sammys offensive ineptitude. Every time he touched the ball he was a disaster, dribbling like a spastic monkey, throwing the ball away, taking shots he shouldn't ever take, being unable to count to there.
But wait, you say, we need Sam on the court. He's awesome defensively and makes the sixers a better rebounding team. Well, yes it's true, the sixers are probably better defensively when Sam is on the court, but the numbers don't back up that they are a better rebounding team. Check them out here.And yes, the sixers give up a lot more points per 100 possessions when Sam is off the court, but they also score a lot more points. The offense is much much better when Sam is on the floor so far this season and the defense is much much worse.
Option number two is Mareese Speights. A second year player who admitted has holes in his defensive game, but he's a second year player, and if the sixers are going to win ANYTHING that matters (41-41 first round playoff losses aren't relevant seasons to me) Speights is going to be one of the important keys to such relevance.
The Speights relevant on off court numbers are available here. And like with Sam, but in reverse, the offense is much better with Speights on the court and the defense is much worse (per 100 possessions). But wait, what's this, the sixers are better on the defensive glass so far this season with Speights on the floor? That's right folks, to this point this season the sixers rebound the ball better when Speights is on the floor as when Sam is on the floor. I know it makes no sense cause Sam is an awesome rebounder, but there it is.
Now, let's not look at this in a vacuum, let's look at the most important thing we can (to me) right now. How does each player play with the starting unit? What's that you say? If only we had a way to see how that works out? Well I'm glad you asked Virginia, because look at this.
Remember how the defense was worse with Speights on the floor for all of his minutes while the offense was better? Well check out the (albeit limited) numbers when Speights plays with the rest of the starting 5 (Lou, Andre, Thad, Elton). The standard starting five has a 'net difference' of .04. Yes the offense seems to be functioning better than the other teams but the defense of the starting five keeps it close. Now, let's look at the net difference for the starting 4 + speights. For those math challenged, it's .48, which is 12 times better than the 'normal' starting five.
Yes, I realize that it's a limited sample size and that the sixers have only played six games. And yes, I realize that I've been at the forefront of the Sam Sucks movement (for longer than i've posted here, for like 4 years now when I was allowed to post at realgm.com), but, the available evidence right now indicates that the starting 4 + Speights is better than the starting 4 + Dalembert. It's also pretty well known that if the sixers could find any team to trade for Dalmebert for even a bag of Doritos they'd trade him, which indicates to me that he's not part of the future of this franchise when they hope to be contending for a title. If that's true, then tell Eddie Jordan it's ok to bench Sam, that the development of Speights matters more than the W/L THIS SEASON, because it's about building towards a championship, and Sam Dalembert isn't a starter on a championship NBA team.
In short, start Speights, tonight, and tell Sam he's a bench player, and every time he whines to the media fine him 10K for conduct detrimental to the team...it's time for Sam to grow up and accept his place in the NBA.