Team previews are a dime a dozen in the great series of tubes we call the Internet but nobody on a national level does it in a more in-depth way than ESPN's John Hollinger. Love him or hate him for inventing PER, he does have the ability to look beyond his all-encompassing metric and break down players using key stats and scout-level observations that come across in an easy-to-understand way to the average reader and basketball fan.
Today, Hollinger released his player reports for the Detroit Pistons. You will need Insider access to read the whole piece, but I will highlight a few bite-sized excerpts. The entire series features projections for points, rebounds, assists and PER as well as a simple scouting report and a detailed analysis for every team and every player. Hopefully this entices you to pony up the $2.50 per month for Insider access (a bargain I've paid for each of the past 10 years). As a bonus it comes with a free subscription to ESPN the Magazine that is incredibly easy to throw in the garbage or give away at work.
That he was able to be even halfway decent in the NBA at the age of 20 is a strong sign of his potential. He's not a starting-caliber point guard and may never become one, but his potential as a scorer and defender could make him an ace third guard.
As for Stuckey, his assist and turnover numbers look a whole lot better when you're comparing him to other shooting guards -- suddenly he has the sixth-best pure point rating at the position. But the big item remains free throws. Stuckey ranked fourth among shooting guards with a phenomenal 0.54 free throw attempts per field goal attempt ...
Prince declined noticeably at both ends, but that didn't stop the Pistons from pretending he was still good late in the fourth quarter of every close game. ... Prince took nearly seven [long 2-pointers[ a game but made only 38.5 percent of them ...
Maxiell shot only 58.9 percent in the basket area and relied much more on midrange jumpers, shooting a halfway-decent 39.0 percent on them but taking nearly half his shots outside 10 feet -- a red flag for a supposed energy guy.
In addition, Monroe is already a good passer and will carve up double-teams once they inevitably start coming at him in greater quantity. Despite a lack of muscle he was also in the top quarter of centers in rebound rate at both ends; he has long arms, good anticipation and catches everything.
Jerebko still needs to improve his long-range game, but the fact he shot 47.6 percent on 2s beyond 10 feet is an encouraging sign; he just needs to extend that range out and he'll be a real threat as a scorer.
For now, he projects as a DeAndre Jordan clone, but given how young he is there is a fairly enormous upside.
Villanueva is a true rarity -- a talented offensive player who averages better than a point every two minutes, yet one who is so amazingly bad on defense that it still renders him unplayable.
Bynum ended up with the worst pure point rating of any point guard at -1.95; while he's a shoot-first guard, this is taking it to a bit of an extreme. Combined with the fact his shots weren't going in, it made Bynum difficult to keep on the court.
he can regain enough zip to be a go-to option for the second unit, then he has some use, but that's the ceiling. He can't space the floor, he can't guard, and the past two seasons he hasn't been effective enough to iso him and get out of the way.
The "good" news is he was only the second worst in rebound rate. Actually, the rest of his defense wasn't bad -- he ranked in the top 15 of power forwards in both blocks and steals per minute, and saw fewer overwhelming strength matchups given the increasing prevalence of small ball around the league.
Singler had a good shooting year in Spain last season, but that was about all he did well; his translated Euroleague stats suggest he'll be a major liability, as he had surprisingly bad turnover numbers and made less than half his 2s.
[English's] senior year at Missouri practically screams fluke from the hilltops. He shot under 40 percent each of his first three seasons and then erupted for 52.1 percent as a senior, including adding nearly 10 percentage points to his 3-point mark.
His best skill, his ability to launch midrange J's over defenders, isn't a terribly valuable one, and it's not clear if he can hang athletically at this level.
His high rebound and free throw rates may translate, but the biggest thing for Detroit is to get some more beef inside to help out Greg Monroe.