The KCP/Rip comparison seems very one-sided at first, and in some respects, it is. However, the age factor is important here. If you compare Rip’s sophomore season to KCP’s, you’ll find more similarities, even though Rip played an extra season of college ball before entering the NBA. Rip had a .046 WS/48 in his sophomore campaign, before jumping to the .087 you see in his 3rd season. If you compare the two at the same age, it's even more interesting. KCP was 21 last year. Rip was 21 during his rookie season.
Here's how they compare at the age of 21...
Rip: 19.3 mpg, 9.0 ppg, .482 TS%, .024 WS/48, 11.6 PER
KCP: 31.5 mpg, 12.7 ppg, .501 TS%, .052 WS/48, 11.2 PER
The reason I think these similarities are interesting is that Rip showed a big improvement the year he turned 22.
Rip: 32.3 mpg, 18.1 ppg, .508 TS%, .046 WS/48, 15.7 PER
One reason Rip's TS% was so low that year is that he wasn't a good 3PT shooter. In fact, he shot 27% and took only about two threes per game. So throw in the fact that KCP is already a far better 3PT shooter than Rip, factor in the extra year of maturity, and it's reasonable to expect a nice uptick in performance this year. Additionally, with Reggie and Dre drawing a lot of attention in the paint, he should get more open looks from outside the arc.
Taking a quick look at the remaining starters, Morris is an upgrade on Curry, Ilyasova much more efficient than Robinson, and Dre even fares pretty well with Big Ben (aside from DWS), especially considering the 6-year age difference.
So how do the benches compare?
A quick glance at the WS/48 shows that the 2002-03 squad's bench was superior by a good margin. The differences that stick out are Jon Barry's efficiency compared to Meeks' subpar season and Corliss Williamson being an absolute beast of a sixth man.
The other big difference is the same as with the starters - age. Not only is the starting unit of the 2002-03 squad on average five years older, the bench is three years older as well. Clearly, it's somewhat easier to predict how an older group will perform the following season, but it's also more likely to see significant improvement from the much younger team.
The whole reason I find this comparison to be relevant is how similar the numbers are to this year's much younger group... even given the vast difference in age.
I don't think anyone could look at these numbers and predict the 2015-16 team to win 15 fewer games than the 2002-03 team (35-47, according to ESPN's expert panel). In fact, a quick bit of math using WS alone shows the Goin' To Work team winning 8.036 more games over the course of a season. So just using last year's numbers, the 2015-16 team could be projected to win about 42 games. Factoring in the age difference and expected improvement from key players in their early 20's, that projection might even be a bit higher.
Post-injury Jennings will be assuming the same role as Chucky Atkins - going from starter to the bench. Atkins only put up 7 ppg in 21 mpg with a .475 TS% in 2002-03. Swag should be able to best that easily if he's able to get on the court. Barry put up 6.9 ppg in about 18 mpg with .593 TS% that next season, and Meeks put up .601 TS% during his last year with the Lakers, so maybe a season without back injuries will let him return to that level.
It's highly unlikely that Stanimal puts up Corliss-type numbers, as the Big Nasty was a seasoned veteran and well-rounded offensive player at that point. But he could provide 8-12 ppg and play tough defense with similar burn (about 25 mpg). Okur put up 6.9 ppg his rookie year, which is right about what we got from Tolliver last year. Rebraca only appeared in 30 games (injury?), and wasn't a regular part of the rotation. My guess is that Baynes will have a bigger impact.
All in all, the teams don't look wildly different stat-wise. Age and experience are the most obvious differences here, and while that might have a big impact on wins over the course of the season, that may be at least somewhat offset by what looks to be a more talented and explosive 2015-16 team. While the Goin' To Work squads had stellar defense, they really struggled to score at times (especially pre-Sheed). This year's team may be the opposite. If SVG can coax some consistently tough defense out of his young team, the sky's the limit.
This is my first foray into advanced stats, so feel free to slap me around in the comments if my math or analysis is off here, but I had fun putting it together and it seems to make some sense.