Exactly who is Dexter Pittman? It's a good question.
When Yahoo! Sports announced the trade a lot of Grizzly fans were perplexed as to who the Memphis Grizzlies were actually acquiring. In his three lone seasons in the NBA, there hasn't been much written about his career. With the Miami Heat implementing their "small-ball" system, Pittman often found himself on the outside looking in. And as a avid Miami Heat-watcher, I can inform Grizzlies fans that there isn't much to see here with Pittman. He's been a project player the last two seasons and every chance he got to make a lasting impression on the Heat's lineup, he hasn't lived up to the bill. But like most young big men in the league, it takes time to development into a solid player.
For his career, Pittman averages 2.8 points and 2.0 rebounds a game, but what he could probably produce given the proper minutes was better displayed in the D-League. In 15 games with the Sioux Falls Skyforce, he averaged 12.4 points and 8.80 rebounds in 24.9 minutes played a night.
Now in Memphis, he'll likely play the same role that former Grizzlies center Hamed Haddadi played. Haddadi averaged 6 minutes a game in his tenure in Memphis, so those minutes will likely go to Pittman. But with Ed Davis finding his groove under Lionel Hollins' offense, only serious foul trouble will get Dexter in the game.
Here are their career numbers side-by-side:
Based solely on career numbers and current Grizzlies needs, Pittman will have to improve his rebounding. Zach Randolph is the best rebounder on the team, but everyone else can be quite suspect at times. When Haddadi entered the game he controlled the boards -- especially on the defensive end. While he provides the big body that Lionel Hollins has mentioned he needs ,especially after the salary dump to Cleveland, his skill set doesn't really fit current needs. If Hollins needs to go with an offensive big man he has Gasol, Darrell Arthur, Zach Randolph or Ed Davis to go with. And defensively, Davis' length or Gasol in general will get the job done.
And for those who thought that Haddadi was a fouling machine, Pittman is even worse.
Dexter Pittman only needed 3 measly whistles to have more fouls than rebounds in his Heat career. What could have been.— Tom Haberstroh (@tomhaberstroh) February 21, 2013
He doesn't have the foot speed to keep up with players in the pick and roll, but his size alone may make him effective against the likes of Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan or Al Jefferson similar to how the Oklahoma City Thunder use Kendrick Perkins in man-to-man post defense. But again, this'll only be if Gasol is in serious foul trouble.
The true verdict on what Pittman will be able to bring to Memphis will be based on if he'll see the floor. As a roster spot dump and size insurance for the playoffs, the odds are low. But based off what I've seen from Dexter before this move was done more for the second round pick than the actual player acquired. And underrated aspect here is how well Hollins has been at developing young players during his tenure as the Memphis coach, so spending time with Z-Bo and Gasol in practice may allow Pittman to be a big-man of the future for this team.