Our Pistons are winless, while the Cavaliers have two victories. Does that point to the teams going in opposite directions? I was really surprised by the moves the Cavaliers made at last year's draft, and wonder if they have a better master plan to win than the Pistons.
I thought it might be interesting to compare their rosters with stats. In many ways there are similarities, but also what I believe significant differences:
Irving vs Knight - Irving has emerged this season as a top 50 talent. He was even projected at the opening of the season as perhaps being a top 10 talent. Currently he ranks at 48th best overall player, based on Yahoo Fantasy Basketball stats. His scoring average of 22.9 is what is most noticeable, but a .472 FG shooting percentage with 2.0 threes is also impressive. He's also averaging 6.3 assists. His turnover rate of 4.1 is the lone glaring detraction.
Knight is averaging just 11.4 points on .394 shooting with 1.6 threes. He has a slightly better assist average of 6.6 and lower turnover rate of 3.3. Steals are currently only 0.3 versus Irving's 0.9 pace. Other elements of the stats do not vary between them much. With the scoring average and shooting percentage clearly in Irving's favor it's easy to see why he is rated the 48th best player versus Knight's 163rd mediocre rating at this time.
Dion Waiters was rated at the opening of the season as the 110th best player and has surpassed that mark with steady statistical contributions across the board to rate as the 87th best player thus far. He easily surpasses Rodney Stuckey's performance and this easily explains what he has fallen from an opening rating of 158th to an abysmal 262 ranking presently.
Gee and Miles versus Prince, Jerebko and Singler. I'd give the nod to Detroit at least in terms of depth, but at this point Gee's ranking as the 91st best overall player seems to make a stronger statement than Detroit's best ranking small forward, Prince, at 155th.
Thompson versus Maxiell and Drummond seems like an intriguing match up. Thompson is averaging over 32 minutes per game and not notable stats. Both Max and Dre are recognized as better ranking options as they have 180 and 183 rankings respectively, versus Thompson's 240th standing.
Varejao versus Monroe thus far also favors the Cavs as Monroe has been struggling to find his shooting touch. Varejao sports a 13.0 rebounding average to dominate his team's stats line in this area while Monroe sports a 9.1 average.Both teams are considered weak rebounders, but both teams have what most believe to be highly capable centers. Currently Varejao holds onto the 29th ranking versus Monroe at 68th standing.
Perhaps Drummond may emerge as the primary center on day, in the meantime we lack a clear reserve that compares to Cleveland's back-up Zeller. In over 18 minutes per game, he is contributing comparably to what Drummond is in points and rebounds, but doesn't seem to be a dynamic shot blocker. It's interesting that his ranking is 336th when Drummond's is 183rd, when so little difference between their stats is apparent. Perhaps Drummond's .720 field percentage and 1.0 shot blocking average carry this much weight.
What does this all mean? Do the Pistons need another star big man? This question occurred to me as I looked at the best prospects in next year's draft. I am very concerned over the depth of the backcourt, but perhaps one more star on the front court is also needed. Would a stellar big man tandem allow either Monroe or Drummond to move more permanently to the power forward role? Would this make the difference we're looking for?
Cody Zeller might be in the Piston's future perhaps...