Patrick Hayes of PistonPowered offered an interesting thought today. In short, he wonders if several former Piston players could be assembled into a starting five that could make the Playoffs out East.
His five players:
- Chauncey Billups
- Arron Afflalo
- Carlos Delfino
- Amir Johnson
- Darko Milicic
His conclusion, based on Win Shares:
That lineup has produced 4.2 total Win Shares. League average for most common starting fives used by each NBA team is 5.9 Win Shares, so this hypothetical group of starters currently would be 23rd in the league in that department. Not good, although they are better than the Pistons most common starting five, which has 3.1 combined Win Shares.
Not surprisingly, I thought it would be interesting to put this starting five to the test via WP48 and Wins Produced. The following tables illustrate what each player produced in 2009-2010 and what each has produced thus far in 2010-2011:
So to sum up, in 09-10, this collection of players combined to produce 28 wins. In case you forgot, the Pistons won 27 games collectively last season.
However, it’s still very early in the 10-11 season, and it wouldn’t be wise to project an entire season on these numbers (Although Arturo Galletti might have something to say about that).
So, I attempted to project what these players might be expected to produce over 82 games based on age and recent performance. In short, I examined the past several years of WP48 and Wins Produced data and attempted to project what these five players might produce over 82 games. In short, I used their current minutes per game as a baseline for minutes played, assumed health for 82 games, and projected a slight decline for older players and a slight improvement for Afflalo.
The following table reflects that projection, along with each player’s salary, to throw fuel on the fire:
Interesting. For just shy of $28 million, the Pistons could employ a starting five that projects to win more games than the entire team produced last season.
But, that quintuplet includes the notoriously unproductive Darko Milicic. Fortunately, we need not include him, because the San Antonio Spurs employ another former Piston who remains productive even in old age – I like to refer to him as San Antonio, or Saint Antonio.
He just looks better in Piston red, white, and blue, doesn’t he?
If we swap Dyess for Darko, what might we get?
Wow. These five former Pistons who will make shy of $28.5 million as a group project to win roughly the same amount of games that I (somewhat optimistically) predicted the 2010-2011 Pistons would win as a whole. For context, Rip and Ben Gordon will make somewhere around $22 million combined, depending on which numbers one uses. Wow, just … wow. And it’s not as if these players departures were beyond Joe’s control – all of these players could have been retained relatively easily (perhaps not Delfino, I suppose).
This didn’t start off as a “Fire Dumars!!1111” post, and I don’t intend it to be that… then again, maybe I do. I’m not entirely sure. Regardless, it does sort of raise the question, doesn’t it?
Or, perhaps this is merely hindsight bias from a disgruntled fan. Either way, I found it extremely interesting – hopefully, it is for other Pistons fans as well.