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How Powe Can Play Center

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Scott Souza has a nice look at Leon Powe filling in as the backup center on this team, despite being generously listed at 6'8".  How does he do it?  Leon gives us some insight:

Through the first two weeks of the campaign, Powe has already found himself looking up nearly a foot at Houston’s Yao Ming and more than eight inches while guarding Cleveland’s Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

At first glance, Powe always appears to be on the wrong end of the mother of all mismatches. But as soon as opposing teams try to exploit it, they often find Powe plays a lot bigger than his size.

Powe knows he doesn’t have the height and length to bother a shot around the rim, so instead he tries to use his low center of gravity to force taller opponents out of the paint and away from easy opportunities.

“You’ve got to do your work early — pretty much above the 3-point line,” he said. “You can’t give up too much ground, because if you give up a lot of ground he’s going to be able to just turn and shoot that hook over you. You’ve got to keep them as far away from the basket as possible and make them take contested jump shots.

“I just try to use my strength, my muscle, to keep them at bay. In this league, you only have to do it for two or three seconds before you’re going to get help.”