Philadelphia 76ers vs. New York Knicks: Stacking Them Up Piece by Piece

Jordan SpectorContributor IIIJanuary 27, 2012

Philadelphia 76ers vs. New York Knicks: Stacking Them Up Piece by Piece

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    The Philadelphia 76ers and the New York Knicks have brought forth surprising starts to their campaigns thus far.

    The much-talked about Knickerbockers have fallen well short of their "new beasts of the east" expectations. While on the other side of the spectrum, the not-so-talked about Sixers have ultimately risen from the ashes of mediocrity, to a team alive with competitive aspirations.

    But with an easy schedule slowly getting harder, the Sixers' winning ways are in danger of becoming as big of a fluke as Tim Tebow's first NFL playoff victory.

    Either way, coach Collins has done a great job in unifying his young roster.

    Philadelphia has legitimate talent—a team full of budding stars. 

    Yet we must not forget to look at the unconditionally loved Knicks either—who seem to attract a steady stream of fanatic supporters to their home games no matter how bad they are—as they too possess a solid group of gifted athletes.

    The question is, then why do they currently sit with a losing record?

    Why isn't the rest of the world (outside of Madison Square Garden) ready to jump on the Big Apple bandwagon just yet? 

    Perhaps the explanation lies in the fact that Mike D'Antoni's "offensive experiment" has failed to create the cohesion among his players that sent the Sixers flying right out of the gate.

    The Knicks are simply confused as to how they can fully utilize their roster in a successful fashion.

    But in all fairness to the Knicks, the following slideshow is not going to identify who has the advantage in terms of chemistry or dynamics—as the Sixers would clearly be the winners—but will be based on pure skill level.

    Nonetheless, here's an in-depth look into how the two teams stack up talent-wise, position-by-position.

Point Guard: Jrue Holiday vs. Toney Douglas/Baron Davis

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    Jrue Holiday: 14.8 PPG, 4.7 APG, 3.2 RPG, 1.7 SPG

    Toney Douglas: 8.7 PPG, 2.3 APG, 2.3 RPG, 1.1 SPG

    Baron Davis (Career): 16.5 PPG, 7.3 APG, 3.9 RPG, 1.9 SPG

    It's been well documented that the Knicks lack of a solid distributor has crippled their efforts to maintain the high-octane offense of D'Antoni's system.

    Toney Douglas has underperformed to the extent where he doesn't even deserve the starting job anymore.

    Frankly, when your own fans are yelling "We want Shumpert!", you know you have a problem—especially since Shumpert is just as bad of a passing guard as Douglas.

    Knicks fans have suddenly been overcome with optimism though, as Baron Davis is believed to be the savior of their early struggles.

    Just for starters, the 32-year-old has only played 75 games or more, once in the past five years.  

    With that being said, age and back problems have also caught up with the veteran, making him less and less capable of performing at his once All-Star level.

    Meanwhile, the 76ers have a bright future on their hands with Jrue Holiday—as opposed to the Knicks flickering star who could go out at any moment. 

    Holiday's stats might not be the flashiest of the group, but the 17th overall pick in the 2009 draft has proven he can play with the best of them.

    The UCLA guard has had performances where he's literally carried the team late in games with his offensive prowess and strong defense.

    Thus, if you compare Jrue Holiday with Toney Douglas or even the aging version of Baron Davis, we have a clear-cut winner. 

    Maybe the Baron Davis of at least three or four years ago would have made for a closer verdict, but that time has passed.

    Advantage: Jrue Holiday76ers

Shooting Guard: Jodie Meeks vs. Landry Fields

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    Jodie Meeks: 9.2 PPG, 0.8 APG, 2.3 RPG, 0.7 SPG

    Landry Fields: 8.7 PPG, 3.1 APG, 3.6 RPG, 1.4 SPG

    This match up of talent is an interesting one.

    Neither Jodie Meeks nor Landry Fields have proven to be consistent scorers yet.

    However, if I was to give the upper-hand to one of them for their shooting abilities, it would definitely be Meeks.

    The Sixers shooting guard is averaging a solid 41 percent from the three-point line.

    Landry Fields, on the other hand, is averaging 21.4 percent from behind the arc and has been less effective in his second year as a pro.

    Despite the decrease in production—which could be attributed to the addition of Carmelo Anthony and this year's draft pick, Iman Shumpert—Fields has still proven to be a solid all-around player who can occasionally fill up the stat sheet, and continues to display the intangibles that should eventually make him into a very good player.

    Meeks has shown less promise than Fields when it comes to raw skill, but he still has the ability to be productive every so often.  

    A big problem for Meeks, though, is that he's primarily a spot-up shooter and often struggles to get his own looks.

    Therefore, I would rather have Landry Fields over Jodie Meeks any day of the week.

    Advantage: Landry FieldsKnicks

Small Forward: Andre Iguodala vs. Carmelo Anthony

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    Andre Iguodala: 13.2 PPG, 4.6 APG, 6.3 RPG, 2.0 SPG

    Carmelo Anthony: 25.7 PPG, 4.2 APG, 6.8 RPG, 1.4 SPG

    Well, there's no denying the fact that Andre Iguodala and Carmelo Anthony are the most talented on their team. 

    In regard to both players, they each have strong passing abilities and play well on the boards. 

    Anthony scores more points per game, but takes twice as many shots (20.6), and has a lower field-goal percentage at 39 percent as opposed to Iguodala's 46 percent.

    The Sixers forward is also the better of the two on defense, since Anthony barely plays any.

    But when it comes to being a great player, there's more to it than just having the ability to produce on a consistent basis, which both of these guys can do.

    A player of greatness is one that can play in the clutch.

    And Carmelo Anthony has proven night in and night out that he's capable of knocking down the big shots when they count the most.  

    While Iguodala gives a huge boost to the 76ers on both sides of the court, Anthony has the ability to literally take over games on offense. 

    Simply put, Iguodala cannot.

    Advantage: Carmelo AnthonyKnicks

Power Forward: Elton Brand vs. Amar'e Stoudemire

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    Elton Brand: 11.1 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.4 BPG

    Amar'e Stoudemire: 17.8 PPG, 8.4 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.5 BPG

    This matchup doesn't bode well for the Sixers.

    Stoudemire is clearly the better of the two, and he possesses more athleticism and strength. 

    Stoudemire has more length than Brand and he still has a lot more left in the tank in his 10th year as a pro.

    Brand does deserve a heap of credit, though, for continuing to give a solid effort despite being 32 years old.

    And earlier in his career, this Sixers big man was as good if not better than Stoudemire.

    But just like Baron Davis, age does make a difference.

    And in Brand's case, he's currently on the decline.

    Advantage: Amare StoudemireKnicks 

Center: Spencer Hawes vs. Tyson Chandler

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    Spencer Hawes: 10.4 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.7 BPG 

    Tyson Chandler: 10.6 PPG, 10.1 RPG, 1.1 APG, 1.3 BPG

    This is by far the closest verdict of them all.

    Both Tyson Chandler and Spencer Hawes are solid centers.

    The scoring output is about the same for each, and neither of the two struggle on defense.

    Although Hawes is a better shooter and has a more polished post game, Chandler can definitely get it done when he needs to.

    But the Sixers big man can pass as well, and plays a big role in making Philly's offense flow more smoothly.

    It should be noted, however, that Tyson Chandler brings a level of toughness with his strong defensive play and constant hustle on the court—the same toughness that propelled the Dallas Mavericks to a championship last year.

    This one could go either way, but when looking at the breakout year Spencer Hawes is having, his future is bright and so is his talent.

    Hawes is shooting 58 percent (11 percent higher than his career average) and has increased his numbers in nearly every category including points, rebounds and blocks.

    Advantage: Spencer Hawes76ers

Bench: Sixers vs. Knicks

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    Sixers Bench: 42.7 points per game

    Knicks Bench: 24.1 points per game

    Let me just start out by saying that if the Knicks swapped their bench with the Sixers, they would currently be in first place in the Atlantic Division.

    Yeah, Philadelphia's second unit is that good.

    When you have a guy like Evan Turner, who has been sensational this year, along with Lou Williams—who I personally think should be starting over Meeks—that's already enough to compensate scoring-wise when resting the starters.

    Turner, Williams and Thaddeus Young are all averaging over double digits in points off the bench.  

    These guys play defense too, which is why Philadelphia is one of the top teams this year in points allowed at 88.5 a game.

    The best players on the Knicks bench don't come close to comparing with Philadelphia's. Iman Shumpert might be able to score, but he struggles to do it efficiently, shooting at 36 percent.

    While the Knicks bench isn't horrible, they're not nearly as deep as the Sixers, who might have the strongest second unit in the league.

    And with that point, Philadelphia wins this matchup by a long shot.

    Advantage: 76ers 

So Who Has the Most Talent?

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    When comparing the starting five of the Knicks to the Sixers, New York has the stronger lineup with two fully-fledged superstars in Stat and Melo.

    But you cannot ignore the fact, that beyond the starters, the Sixers have twice as much talent.

    This depth for Philadelphia gives them so many good role players.

    Each can contribute in ways that take this team to another level.

    And as the players on this young Sixers squad have bright futures ahead of them (including the bench), the Knicks fall short in talent.

    A few years from now, as they continue to grow, it wouldn't be surprising if Philadelphia joined the discussions as a top team with Chicago and Miami.

    As for the Knicks, their lack of depth and weakness at the point will likely be addressed, as they, too, continue to strive for elite status.

    But in the end, the roster that currently boasts the most talent is that of Doug Collins and his Philadelphia Sixers.

    Winner: Philadelphia 76ers