None of the Pistons are performing up to snuff. Some are exceeding expectations, but none are atop the NBA fantasy stat world. The closest player we have to the top is Greg Monroe, and he's only ranked 67th overall, but faltering to his opening rank of 38th. Obviously stats don't tell the whole story, but they definitely give a good indication of what some of the problems are.Let's take a look at the Pistons by position and use the Yahoo stats with rankings to see how each player is doing:
Knight's opening rank was 94th, his current rank is 166th. Ouch! He's not showing the progress we'd all hoped for, at least statistically. In an average of over 32.5 minutes of playing time he's shooting just over 39% from the field and hitting only 76.5% of free throws; the free throw shooting definitely is well below par. He is averaging 1.6 threes, which is a good clip. However, his overall scoring average is just 11.4. Perhaps the most promising statistic is his 6.6 assists per game average, but he's only averaging 0.3 steals which is disappointing.
Stuckey's opening rank was a rather surprising 158. I thought for sure he'd break out of this low ranking and be a great low round selection, but so far his current ranking has been 258! His shooting has been abysmal; currently he's averaging just 23.6% of field goal shots attempted. Free throw shooting is a reasonably good 84.2%. This shooting percentage matches a paltry 7.9 scoring average. Other marks that seem anemic include 0.7 threes, 2.1 rebounds, and 0.3 steals per game. I'd only credit him as having a reasonably good assist average, as he is dishing out an average of 4.1 per game.
Bynum has been the only other regularly used guard in the rotation while Maggette remains on the injury list and English has played sparingly. Bynum was ranked 331st at the opening of the season, but has moved up to 231 - 27 spots higher than Stuckey, but still just 5 spots higher English at 231. In 15:41 of average playing time he is averaging 7.7 points, 1.4 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 0.6 steals, and 0.1 threes. His shooting beats both other guards with a 40.8% for field goals and 92.9% for free throws. Obviously overall production is why his ranking is so low, and it is commonly held that he is too small to sufficiently defend other NBA guards.
In order of current ranking, the Piston forwards are:
Prince, who is exceeding his opening ranking of 174th, with current ranking of 158th. Playing an average of over 30 minutes per game he is averaging 11.7 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 0.7 steals, and 0.4 blocked shots. His shooting seems respectable at 42.7% from the field while averaging 0.6 threes, and 82.4% from the free throw line.
Singler, who is far exceeding his opening ranking of just 392nd, with a current ranking of 165th. In just over an average of 21 minutes per game, his high shooting percentages are what stand out: 48.7% from the field with 0.9 threes, and 83.3% from the free throw line, as he averages 7.7 points. Rebounding is only 2.7, assists 0.3, steals 0.1, but another area where he is standing out is in blocked shots where he is averaging 1.1!
Jerebko, who was conservatively ranked at opening at 203rd, and has performed to earn a current ranking of 167th. Recently I read about him having a 20.5 PER (performance efficiency rating). Interestingly, since he has averaged just over 20 minutes per game, Although his shooting is a bit disappointing at 41.1% and 76.5%, with just 0.7 threes, he has relatively high averages in points 9.1, rebounding 2.9, assists 0.9, steals 1.4, but no blocked shots.
Middleton has shown some promise emerging from an opening rank of 452nd to be currently rank 176th.Since he's played so little, the ranking may be really be as meaningful as of yet, but perhaps gives us hope that this young player may be a contributor in the future.
Big Forwards / Centers--
Monroe is definitely the team's star. He was ranked at opening as the 38th best player, but has to date only been able to maintain a 67th best player overall ranking. In over 33 minutes per game he is averaging 15.1 points, 9.1 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.3 blocked shots. His shooting averages are the biggest area needing improvement as he is averaging 44.0% from the field, with 0 threes, and 66.7% from the free throw line.
Maxiell was only ranked 260th best player at the open of the season, but has performed at a 179th ranking level to date. In over 24 minutes per contest he has a 8.7 scoring average and 5.4 rebounding average that are respectable marks. He has a field goal shooting average of 54.2% while free throw shooting is just 69.2%. He has an average of 0.1 assists, 0.1 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game.
Drummond was ranked 200th at the opening of the season and has moved to 183rd thus far. He is averaging just a bit over 16 minutes of playing time and contributing 6.9 points per game, 5.0 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 0.6 steals, and 1.0 blocks. He has a 72.0 field goal percentage, and a 55.5 rate from the free throw line. If you could project a 50% corresponding increase in playing time to each of his performance measures, his averages would be something like this: 10.4 points, 7.5 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.9 steals, and 1.5 blocks, in approximately 24 minutes of playing time.
Daye, Villanueva, and Kravtsov have had such limited playing time it does little good to convey their rankings. However, it may be worth mentioning that Daye demonstrated good shooting in a recent game to score 5 points in 6 minutes - notably not missing a shot from the field.
It seems obvious that the team needs to play up to and surpass opening rankings to meet or exceed the expectations of ownership, the fans, and team management. I'm relatively hopeful that the return of Corey Maggette to the lineup would help somewhat, especially if Stuckey is still suffering from migranes. I haven't seen any evidence that would suggest the team has an adequate supply of backcourt talent regardless of Maggette's return. There is definitely the hope that Knight and English will develop into strong young players, but it seems to be a reach to expect a lot. Stuckey's performance thus far has been stinky; I couldn't resist using the wording to describe him - sorry. It seems that the league and outside experts seem to be drawing the right conclusions as to his potential for making an impact in the league. Dropping from 158th ranking to 258th is definitely not what I expected from someone that would show the world how wrong they were.
I think the future of the Pistons depends in great part how quickly Andre Drummond can develop. I understand the caution that is being used to not break his confidence, but his performances warrant pushing him faster into the fray. Jerebko and Singler also seem to merit greater playing time. Despite respectable performance levels from Prince, the team needs to develop its younger talent and determine if it can be built on or not. I'd like to see if Prince could play shooting guard, rather than restrain the time JJ and Singler have on the court.
Perhaps the same can be said about Maxiell; I'd rather see more of Drummond and Monroe. Max could still seem to contribute as much in as little as 12 to 15 minutes as he does in 24, while giving Drummond the added time should pay longer term dividends.
End of Season Goals:
I'd like to be hopeful that progress can be achieved in player rankings as a measuring stick on the season. Here's what I'm hoping to see:
Knight ending rank of 99 - 67 spot change from where he is currently
Stuckey ending rank of 160 - 98 spot change up
Bynum ending rank of 230 - 1 spot change
Maggette ending rank of 150 - best guess from what I hope he can contribute
Jerebko ending rank of 125 - 42 spot change hoped for with more playing time
Prince ending rank of 200 - 42 spot decline with reduced playing time
Singler ending rank of 145 - 20 spot change with marginally more playing time
Maxiell ending rank of 199 - 20 spot decline with marginally less playing time
Drummond ending rank of 110 - 73 spot change with 50% more playing time, or about 24 mpg
Monroe ending rank of 30 - 37 spot change based on better overall performance expectations
Middleton ending rank of 176 - the same
English ending ranking of 185 - 51 spot change with nominal added playing time