Updated Wins Produced!

A huge thanks to Arturo for crunching the numbers (regardless of how tentative they may be). Thanks to his fine work, we have WP48 numbers for the first three Pistons games of the season – and of course numbers for the rest of the teams in the Association.

From the looks of it, I’ll have to revist how I’ve crunched Win Scores. Ah well, live and learn.

I already pointed out Stuckey and Wallace. Stuckey is playing even better than I realized, as is Big Ben in spite of shooting poorly (he’s among the top 25 in terms of WP48! The Benaissance continues!!!). I also criticized Gordon unfairly; he’s been just as good as he’s looked. Also, in spite of not shooting well at all, TMac is making a positive contribution in limited minutes – which matches what I saw watching him. He’s played great on the ball defense and has been facilitating well for others.

However, Tay, Rip, Charlie, Max, and Daye are off to very poor starts. Their poor shooting and rebounding has been instrumental in all three losses.

Obviously, Gordon can’t keep shooting like he’s shooting, but it’s a great sign nonetheless. And Stuckey’s improvement is just as much tied to increased assists and decreased TO’s as it is to shooting. Here’s hoping that’s stable. And Big Ben is still Big Ben.

Win Score Through Three Games

The Detroit Pistons are off to a rough start. They’ve managed to lose their first three games, which seems to be a continuation of last season. To play devil’s advocate, however, each of the first three games seemed well in hand late in each ball game. So have the Pistons improved, and thus are the three losses a fluke? Or, are we destined to repeat last season all over again and find ourselves out of the Playoffs with a high lottery pick?

Obviously, our sample size is incredibly small, so our judgments at this point are tentative and preliminary. Furthermore, I’ve opted to use Win Score for this post – the simplest metric in the Wins Produced family. (As an aside, I’ve opted for this metric mainly befacuse I haven’t yet determined a quick and accurate way to generate Wins Produced and WP48 until the Automated Wins Produced site is current.)

Still, the numbers still may tell a story.

Win Score 2010-2011 - Google Chrome_2010-10-31_11-55-58

To put these numbers in context, here are average Win Scores by position from 1993-2005.

Win Score by Position - Google Docs - Google Chrome_2010-10-31_13-21-50

A few obvious things jump out.

First, Rodney Stuckey is playing good basketball, perhaps the best overall stretch of his career. Looking at his box score statistics, we can see that his turnovers are down, his assists are up, and his shooting percentage is up – which are all reflected in an increased Win Score overall. Again, the sample is small, but in conjunction with good preseason numbers, I’m hopeful that Stuckey is turning a corner in his career.

Ben Gordon is playing below-average basketball for his position? Unfortunately, that is what the numbers suggest. In spite of shooting a blistering percentage from the field, Gordon isn’t doing much else other than shoot, and as a result, he’s not helping the team win as much as his scoring and shooting percentage suggests.

Tayshaun Prince and Ben Wallace are off to slow starts. Both of these players played solid basketball last season. Ben Wallace in particular was producing at a borderline star level. But both have stumbled out of the gate, posting poor shooting percentages, and for Prince at least, poor rebounding numbers.

Is Rip washed up? According to the Automated Wins Produced numbers, Rip actually produced in the negative range last season, and unfortunately for Pistons fans, he appears to be carrying that trend forward into this season. He is shooting the ball very poorly, and he’s not doing much other than taking shots.

Thus far, Austin Daye’s stellar preseason hasn’t continued in the regular season, and Charlie V has yet to offer anything other than shot attempts. And Greg Monroe – touted by the organization as a big man ready to contribute – has barely gotten off the bench.

In sum, the numbers seem to suggest that thus far, the Pistons have earned all three losses, and poor shooting and poor rebounding seem to be the main culprits – both of which are obvious carry-overs from last season which were not addressed at the roster level this offseason. If they remain problematic – and barring personnel changes, it would appear that they will – our 0-3 start might be a bad omen for the next 79 games.

Why another Pistons blog?

A new season for the Pistons begins today. And another new Pistons blog appears in the blogosphere. 

I’m a lifelong fan of my beloved Pistons, and I’m an avid follower of several Pistons blogs. Each of the blogs I follow has its own niche for me personally, and each of them produces excellent content on a consistent basis. My goal isn’t to compete with or reproduce what these blogs already do very well and better than I ever could. So, you won’t see (many) game recaps. You won’t see link dumps. You won’t see game threads. Hit the sidebar for several Pistons blogs that do that.

Instead, what you will see is statistical analysis applied to the Pistons (and maybe to some other teams that catch my fancy once in a while). Specifically, I will analyze and evaluate the Pistons through the lens of Wins Produced and its derivatives.

“But why would anyone want to do that?” You might ask. And it’s a great question.

A few years ago, a friend turned me onto the Wages of Wins Journal, a blog authored by Dr. David Berri. After reading through its archive, I hastily ordered Dr. Berri’s book, The Wages of Wins (and later on Stumbling on Wins). I read the book(s) in no more than a couple sittings. And things that I think I must have known somewhere beneath the surface of conscious knowledge started to make sense.

The 2004 Pistons were truly a great team. Ben Wallace actually was one of the game’s most dominant players. There’s a reason Dennis Rodman has so many Championship Rings. 

In short, I think these metrics explain how teams and their players win basketball games, and I think they do it very well. I don’t think they’re perfect; in fact, we know they’re not. I don’t think the stories these numbers tell say everything that can be said; in fact, we know they don’t. But they do tell us a lot, and they tell their stories more accurately than any of their competitors.

And that’s why I’ve decided to start this blog – because there are stories to tell about the Pistons that aren’t yet being told. 

If Wins Produced, et al, is unfamiliar to you, check out Required Readings. The Glossary of Terms might be useful too. Glad to have you along for the ride.