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