Just from the title it automatically looks like 2012-13 is worse than 2011-12 was after the first 8 games. But is it? Since I don't have time, nor the capability, to watch all 8 games from both seasons and compare them, I'm going to compare the scheduling, box scores and opponents to see how bad 2012-13's first 8
games losses are.
Yes, 2011-12 was a shortened season, so the scheduling may not be "normal" to previous seasons. However, it's for that reason that I think it's perfect to use last year "due to time constraints."
|Number of days||13||13|
|Number of Time Zones Played||2||4|
Ok, so we knew this year's scheduling to begin the season was bad. But did it take a toll on the team? My answer is yes. But how much? I don't know. But you have 5 rookies (though not each one plays every night) getting their first taste of the NBA and they are playing the most games of any team in the NBA (in the same time period that is), being jetted around the country (three time zones within 30 hours according to Langolois' last TBP post), against West opponents. We can all agree a West coast trip, regardless of how long, normally isn't in the Pistons favor.
Now, the number of days is the same and the same number of back to backs. What I didn't put on there is that they didn't play 4 in 5 in 2011-12, which is even more grueling. Also, what I think is misleading in that graph is the fact that last year we played more games against playoff teams. When we faced Boston last year, they were 0-3, one of those losses at the hands of the Hornets by 19 points. We beat a 4-1 Orlando team who was on a 4 game winning streak. And New York was 3-4 when we faced them, we'd be their second in a four game winning streak, before they went on to only win 2 in their next 10. So those playoff teams from last year weren't always at Playoff level when we played them.
Yes, we have 5 rookies on our team, but we have the same coaching as last year. So, shouldn't our offense be up?
|Average Points||84.25||91.3 (24th)|
|Opponents Points||94.5||101.5 (27th)|
|Assist Per Game||18.5||21.5 (15th)|
|Possessions Per Game||84.5||95.9 (19th)|
Now, Point Differential and Opponents Points should go under Defense, but I figured they fit here. So, it looks like our offense has improved decently, though with as horrid as we're shooting, that's very surprising. But it looks like our defense is killing us (will get to that in a second). So the upside is, imagine what happens
when if the players starters Knight, Stuckey and Prince start playing at their career average level (though admittedly, Prince hasn't been really bad). Monroe, Prince, Knight and Stuckey are all shooting a decent amount below their career averages. If they get back to where they normally are, we could have a potent offense. But we have sped up the game, still have issues with TO, and somehow are shooting a better TS% than last year.
We know our defense has sucked this year, and doesn't look to get too much better right now, but how does it compare to last season?
|Blocks Per Game||2.875||6.13|
|Steals Per Game||7.125||6.63|
|Opponent Offensive Rebounds||10.125||12.875|
Honestly, the defense doesn't seem to have digressed that much. I mean, the Opponent Offensive Rebounds needs to come down, that's a given. But other than that, for some reason (unless I did the numbers wrong, and I could have) our defense looks "ok." It obviously needs to get better. Allowing 100+ PPG is not going to get us anywhere, but our defense "looks" (on paper) to be better than how we started last year.
I've read on many sites that it will be quite possible for the Pistons to actually improve this year without it reflecting in the standings. From looking at this numbers, that could very well be true. Our scheduling seemed easier last year (for the first 8 games at least) compared to this year in both opponents and scheduling setup. Our offense, while still not that pretty to watch (EXCEPT FOR WHEN THERE'S NEED TO TYPE IN ALL CAPS!!!), is faster and seems to be similar (though marginally better) than last year. Our defense even seems to be more imposing (Thank you Brahma Bull). But they just need to clean up some issues.
We still foul too much, turn the ball over too much, and need to shoot better (both in accuracy and shot selection). There are many plays where it looks like we deserve to have the ball stolen away, but we luckily collect ourselves and get the ball. But it does feel like we're heading in the right direction. Now imagine what that would mean if we had the starting lineup we wanted.
Ideally, I would have loved to compare our starting lineup from this year to how they started last year. But I didn't think that would be fair to Maxiell since he didn't start the season, Brandon Knight was a rookie, and we had a brand new coach (so we were trying to learn a new offense). But I have a feeling Prince is playing better this year than when he started last year and Max may be as well. Monroe has struggled to start the year though he seems to be coming into form now. So, what do we have to look forward to?
I'm not predicting a win tonight because the Sixers are an imposing figure (though they'd be tougher with Louis Williams). I like Singler being the starting SG for Stuckey since he's out with the flu rather than throwing Maggette right there (his first game back). But rather than Knight being our best three point shooter like last year, I think we have just as capable three point shooters in English and Singler (and even Prince has been hitting them at a 60%+ clip this year, and Drummond is 100% from 3). To our dismay, Drummond hasn't been used the way he should be yet. Though a spike on a chart, imagine him getting close to 22/8/1/1 a night. I think we're going to get a win within the next four games (come on, two are against Orlando) and I think we'll start seeing more consistency. But I will say, this is probably a much better start than last year, though the record doesn't show it.