Just like Josh Smith airing out a long two at the end of the shot clock, I let a preview of the Pistons fly just moments before their season tips off tonight.
Nothing but... backboard? I probably need a new analogy.
Anyway, the Boxscore Geeks have done a pretty amazing job previewing the entire NBA (index of posts here), and I was fortunate enough to contribute a preview of the Pistons. As is always the case at Boxscore Geeks, analysis is driven by statistics, and most often, Wins Produced or one of its derivatives.
The data comes from Arturo Galletti, and as you'll see, I had a few minor quibbles. The data was compiled prior to the most recent roster adjustments, so some of the minute projections aren't quite what I would expect. I also think some of the position assignments should be adjusted, particularly for Josh Smith. His model's projections of a few players, like Jonas Jerebko and Kyle Singler, seems a bit low, but those quibbles are relatively minor in the grand scheme of things.
The BSG model has the Pistons at 33.9 wins, with a worst-case scenario of 25 wins and a best-case scenario of 43 wins. While I didn't show all my work in terms of minutes, wins produced per 48, and so on, my own projection has the Pistons a little bit better than splitting the difference between best and worst case.
I think a lot depends on minute distribution, rotations (i.e., who Stan Van Gundy chooses to play, when and where), shot distribution and selection, and defense. I'm optimistic about some of those things, but really, a lot of that is anybody's guess at this point.
If you haven't yet, click through to check it out. There's some cool Wins Produced data as you'd expect, but also a neat visual showing just how awesome Josh Smith's offense was last year - the ultimate cherry on top of a truly delightful season.
I know a lot of DBB readers are projecting the Pistons to be quite a bit better than I think they will. Sound off in the comments letting us all know why.