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Could a hypothetical starting five of former Pistons make the playoffs in the East?

Darko Milicic is obviously the impetus of this post.

For those who haven’t noticed (and judging by the coverage it has received, how haven’t you noticed?), Milicic has found himself of late in Minnesota, averaging 16.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, 4.0 blocks and 3.5 assists per game over his last six games while shooting over 50 percent. He’s also leading the NBA in blocked shots at 2.9 per game overall. Darko Milicic. Darko. Milicic.

But although Milicic and his newfound production is the biggest gut-punch, he’s far from the only recent Piston benchwarmer to suddenly figure things out in another location. In fact, there are quite a few of them floating around the league now, enough to form a pretty intriguing (and cheap) starting five.

Former Pistons have been so good (or at least better than I thought they’d be), in fact, that I’ve recently been wondering: could this hypothetical starting five of former Pistons make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference?

Here’s my lineup:

Chauncey Billups

Billups is the no-brainer of the group. The perception of Billups at the time he was dealt was that he had at least plateaued as a player, if not started a decline.

Well, as his tenure in Denver has shown, stories of his decline were greatly exaggerated. He’s still one of the top PGs in the league, an effective leader/locker room presence and he even posted a career-high season in scoring last year at age 33. There are limitations to Billups’ game (he still struggles some defensively against quick point guards), but I have no doubts that he could still lead a team to the playoffs.

Arron Afflalo

There were signs that Afflalo was going to be a late first round steal when he was in Detroit. He was well known for his work ethic at UCLA and the Pistons also praised him throughout his first two seasons in the league for always working hard in practice even if he wasn’t being rewarded with consistent playing time.

Afflalo was traded to Denver in a cost cutting move and deemed expendable because the team signed Ben Gordon and extended Rip Hamilton. All Afflalo has done is turn into one of the best 3-point shooters in the league, plays solid defense and his .631 true shooting percentage this season is nearly identical to Gordon’s (.632) and it’s a higher mark than Hamilton has ever had in his career for only a fraction of the cost of either of those players.

Carlos Delfino

Delfino is the super athletic and versatile wing off the bench the Pistons really could’ve used during every season of the Flip Saunders era. And unfortunately, Delfino was right there on the bench, ready to get an opportunity, that whole time. He never stayed in the rotation in Detroit for long and was sent to Toronto in a deal for a future second rounder.

Delfino had a solid season with the Raptors, played one season in Russia, then re-emerged as a starter on a playoff team in Milwaukee last season. Delfino isn’t elite in any one facet of the game, but he can shoot, slash to the basket, defend and pass reasonably well.

Amir Johnson

For a late second round pick, Johnson has had a good career already. Most guys picked where he was selected don’t last long in the NBA, and Johnson is now on his third NBA contract. Detroit spent several seasons developing him, hoping he’d become a rotation player. In his final season in Detroit, he briefly started for the Pistons, then disappeared from the rotation, then made a few cameo appearances the rest of the season before getting traded to Milwaukee, who spun him to Toronto for (interestingly) the rights to Delfino.

In Toronto, Johnson has had the same problem that plagued him in Detroit: he fouls too much. But he’s also played consistent minutes.

Johnson can’t be counted on to be a 35-minute-per-game big man at this point, but for 20-25 minutes a game, he’ll play with energy, he’ll shoot a really high percentage, you’ll never have to run a play for him, he’ll rebound and he’ll block shots.

This season, he’s averaging 8.7 points, 5.5 points and 1.1 blocks per game in 20.1 minutes while shooting nearly 60 percent.

He doesn’t have the major upside many thought he did (Matt Watson, I’m looking at you) in Detroit, but he’s become a solid rotation big man who, if he continues this level of production, will be worth the contract many scoffed at when he re-signed in Toronto.

Darko Milicic

As stated above, Darko has been a terror over the last six games after a miserable start to the season. Personally, I don’t want to live in a world where Milicic is a good NBA player. Or one where David Kahn makes a good signing. But we have to face facts: if Milicic produces near this level throughout the life of his contract, he’s going to be one of the best values in the NBA.

And remember: for as long as he’s been around, he’s only 25-years-old, and he’s still a young 25 since most of his NBA career has been spent glued to the bench in Detroit, Orlando, Memphis or New York.

There’s really no reasonable way to predict how this lineup would compete against other starting fives in the league. But (thanks to Dan Feldman for putting running all the numbers in his spreadsheets), we can at least see, based on Win Shares, how they compare.

Here are the Win Shares for my hypothetical starting lineup:

  • Billups – 0.6
  • Afflalo – 1.4
  • Delfino -0.6
  • Johnson – 1.6
  • Milicic – 0

That lineup has produced 4.2 total Win Shares. League average for most common starting fives used by each NBA team is 5.9 Win Shares, so this hypothetical group of starters currently would be 23rd in the league in that department. Not good, although they are better than the Pistons most common starting five, which has 3.1 combined Win Shares.

Another thing to keep in mind: Billups has started the season slow, and his total will almost certainly go up. Delfino has been injured, so he could go up as well and Darko started the season so poorly offensively that even his torrid offensive pace over the last six games still leaves him with a negative total of offensive Win Shares for the season. That could change if he keeps shooting the ball well.

Of course, Milicic and Johnson could both see their production decline significantly as well and this whole post will look really dumb in a few weeks when they fall back to Earth.

I’ll definitely be watching as the season goes on though and updating if necessary. In a lot of cases, the players who got away from the Pistons are becoming more significant stories in Joe Dumars’ legacy than the players who are here.

UPDATE: As noted in the comments, Ben Gulker too this idea and applied it using the Wins Produced stat over at Pistons by the numbers. Check out his whole post, which is really interesting, particularly his idea to sub another former Piston in my hypothetical lineup for Monsieur Milicic. Here’s part of Ben’s conclusion:

These five former Pistons who will make shy of $28.5 million as a group project to win roughly the same amount of games that I (somewhat optimistically) predicted the 2010-2011 Pistons would win as a whole. For context, Rip and Ben Gordon will make somewhere around $22 million combined, depending on which numbers one uses. Wow, just … wow. And it’s not as if these players departures were beyond Joe’s control – all of these players could have been retained relatively easily (perhaps not Delfino, I suppose).

Also, commenter nuetes offers more stats below that are worth checking out if you haven’t already.

40 Comments

  • Nov 29, 201011:09 am
    by Glove

    Reply

    Hey- love the site. the article is great- but let’s hold off on Darko until he does it more consistently.
    Check out my new NBA site – http://www.andoneforostertag.blogspot.com  (And One For Ostertag) You guys will love it- all short, really funny, rarely seen NBA videos!
    Please check it out guys!! Thankss!

  • Nov 29, 201011:24 am
    by brgulker

    Reply

    This is an excellent post!!! I’m going to take a stab with the Wins Produced numbers and see what we could get :)

  • [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Detroit Pistons and Patrick Hayes, PistonPowered Feed. PistonPowered Feed said: Could a hypothetical starting five of former Pistons make the playoffs in the East?: Darko Milicic is obviously … http://bit.ly/he9fcs [...]

  • Nov 29, 201011:49 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @brgulker:

    Nice! Send me the link when it’s done and I’ll add your data as well.

  • Nov 29, 201012:10 pm
    by nuetes

    Reply

    Great premise for this article, but could have delved into the numbers a tad more. Billups is on the decline, but the rest are on the rise, so I’ll look at both Billups’ numbers. But for instance if you take career average win shares per 48 your looking at:
     
    Billups (career): 0.179  Billups (this year): 0.092
     
    Afflalo: 0.089
     
    Delfino: 0.094
     
    Johnson: 0.164
     
    Milicic: 0.048
     
    ok so a little homework went into this but here’s how many win shares they would earn over the course of an 82 game season given their career averages and minutes per game this season:
     
    Billups (career): 9.88  Billups(this year): 5.08
     
    Afflalo: 5.35
     
    Delfino: 5.72
     
    Johnson: 5.63
     
    Milicic: 2.21
     
    Total (billups career): 28.79  Total (billups this year): 23.99
     
    Pistons current starters using their career average ws/48 and mpg, except Rip who I’ll take his last 3 years average since he sucks now:
     
    Stuckey: 4.08
     
    Rip: 3.72
     
    Prince: 6.72
     
    Maxiell: 4.01
     
    Wallace: 6.35
     
    Total: 24.88
     
    So if your getting the Billups of this year our current starting lineup and the starting lineup we could hypothetically have is about the same.
     
    But if you want to look at price tags the current starting lineup comes in at $33.5 million, or $1.34 million per win. The hypothetical team comes in at $27.9 million, or $1.16 million per win. So the hypothetical team gives you more for less, and consists of 3 players under the age of 26, and 4 under 30. Our current starters consist of only 1 player under the age of 26, and only 2 under the age of 30.

  • Nov 29, 20101:02 pm
    by Odeh

    Reply

    I think this is a positive for Pistons fans because it shows that Dumars recognized their skill and talent but they just didn’t pan out here for whatever reason (player development, time consistency).  He could always add nice pieces but he just needs to find pieces that mesh together.  I think the same thing will happen to some of the Pistons on the current team if they are traded or not resigned.  Rip will flourish next to a pass first pg, Tay will be a starter on a contender, Daye will be a good starting SF if given minutes, and Stuckey would make a team better if he is moved off the ball more often.

  • Nov 29, 20101:37 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    “In a lot of cases, the players who got away from the Pistons are becoming more significant stories in Joe Dumars’ legacy than the players who are here.”
    the smartest insight from the writers here that i’ve read.
    in fact, i’ve wondered why the detroit media has consistently given joe d a pass on the way he has basically given productive young players away.
    i’ve long argued that the pistons would be a better team if they had simply kept their cap space, never signed gordon and CV, kept afflalo and johnson, and been able to possibly make moves for guys like eric maynor who were given away last year by utah for cap reasons.
    for this fan, those guys – the entire list, actually -  are the biggest indictment of joe d that one could imagine.
    what is most disturbing is when one considers the return that detroit got for all of that talent.
    stuckey?  cap space that turned into BG and CV?  what else?  obviously, not a whole lot considering the quality of those 5 players.

  • Nov 29, 20101:46 pm
    by nuetes

    Reply

    @frankie d
     
    i’m with ya. i’d take afflalo and amir over gordon and cv anyday. should have just kept them. david lee would have been the way to go, or swinging a trade for boozer, but that’s living in the past. it’s tough not to with the mistakes that have been made though.

  • Nov 29, 20102:18 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    and in two years, you can write the same post and add dujuan summers as your sixth man.
    he is destined to be sacrificed on the alter of mcgrady’s rehab.
    and in a couple of years, fans will wonder how the heck the team let a guy with that kind of talent waste away and then drift off.

  • Nov 29, 20102:59 pm
    by Eric

    Reply

    Why limit it with those guys, you also have Mehmet Okur out there too…Detroit should be right in the mix.  So much for Dumars genius.

  • Nov 29, 20103:25 pm
    by detroitpcb

    Reply

    u guys forget that Joe D drafted all those players. He has done a great job drafting and if Darko finally turns out to be the player everyone thought he would be – the only real black spot on Joe’s resume is erased.

    and nobody in the league would take Amir & Affalo over Gordon & CV. don’t be silly.

  • [...] in the East? Posted on November 29, 2010 by brgulker Patrick Hayes of PistonPowered offered an interesting thought today. In short, he wonders if several former Piston players could be assembled into a starting [...]

  • Nov 29, 20103:38 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @Eric:

    I left out Okur because I wanted to limit it to recent moves.

    Okur’s turned out to be solid, but the Pistons essentially had to choose between offering Okur more money or signing Rasheed Wallace coming off the 2004 title. I don’t fault Dumars for choosing to keep his championship starting five together. It was the right call, even at the expense of a good young player in Okur, and I think any GM in the league would’ve done the same thing.

  • Nov 29, 20103:41 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    for the money that both amir and afflalo made last year, no doubt they were the better bargains.
    with CV it is a closer call now, but gordon in no way justifies the ridiculous salary he is being paid.  and afflalo makes…what…2 million or so now.
    for the money, darn right that afflalo – with his defense and 3 point shooting – is a much better choice than gordon.
    now, it’s not all gordon’s fault.  lots has to do with dumars dumb roster, but today, with this present roster, afflalo makes a lot more sense, at a much  cheaper price.

  • Nov 29, 20103:47 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @PCB:

    Not the only black spot — you forget the Rodney White fiasco.

    And I’ve also not been convinced that Dumars had a strong draft last year. Jerebko was a great, great find in the second round.

    Summers was a bad pick. The three players who went immediately after him — Dejuan Blair, Sam Young and Jon Brockman — are all better players, and Blair and Brockman would’ve both bolstered the frontcourt.

    And although I certainly like Daye’s upside, Darren Collison and Ty Lawson were both still on the board when he was picked. Both would’ve been better picks in my mind, even though Daye might surpass them someday with minutes and consistency.

  • Nov 29, 20103:53 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @Frankie D:

    Summers is talented, but I don’t think he’s going to go elsewhere and turn into a stud. He was talented at Georgetown and had the same rap — doesn’t always play hard, disappears, etc.

    Heading into last season, Summers had the best chance of any of the three rookies to get minutes. He was the strongest and most athletic of the group. He simply got out-worked and out-played in camp and in the preseason by Jerebko and Daye.

    I think he was a bad pick, and he’s certainly a gifted athlete, but I’m less than confident he’ll become a rotation player on a decent team.

  • Nov 29, 20104:33 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    how can you or anyone make any judgment about summers based on what he has been allowed to show so far?
    any judgment about his possible pro career is nothing but conjecture at this point.
    certainly everyone is allowed to conjecture, but to say that he hasn’t played because he hasn’t worked hard is not supported by the evidence.
    is daye now a lazy and uninspired player because he is collecting dnps and getting 7 minutes a game?
    or is daye and summers simply a victim of the ridiculous personnel moves that joe d has made the last couple of years?
    i always say that the great thing about sports is that we usually get a chance to see just how good or bad a player is or how accurate or inaccurate a prognostication has been.
    with summers, we will see.
    and i certainly don’t think it is fair to compare a guy who has not gotten a legitimate chance to play to a group of players who have been given a legit shot.
    i like all 3 guys you mention. (you also forgot budinger, who joe gave away also.)
    but blair has been given a legit shot at time.
    young was given a legit shot at time.
    and last year, brockman got a decent shot at time and is a regular part of the rotation with the bucks.
    lots of folks around these parts basically said the same thing about afflalo last year.
    there was a collective yawn in the media, with hardly an explanation for the move, other than the fact that it was necessary for cap space to sign a big man.
    personally, i was outraged, as a fan, because it was fairly obvious that afflalo was going to be a player, if given a legit shot.
    same thing with summers.
    btw, just because those players – brockman, blair, etc – were good players doesn’t make summers a bad pick.  even if the team cannot use him, one of the things that good gms do is develop their surplus young players and then use them as trade assets later on.
    last year, portland did exactly that when they traded a surplus SF – outlaw – along with steve blake, for a starting center, marcus camby.

  • Nov 29, 20104:42 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    btw, i don’t think that summers is a “star” caliber player.
    imho, he can be a solid rotation guy who can come in and play both the SF and the PF spot against certain teams.
    and he could have been allowed to play a role that needed filling: a defender against the “power” 3′s that are becoming so popular in the league.  when he has gotten a chance, he has held his own physically against the big, powerful SFs that he has guarded.  detroit has long needed a player with that type of skill – big and quick enough to not get pushed around – but they have never really allowed summers to play that role in a meaningful way.
    and getting 5 minutes every 4th game does not qualify as a meaningful opportunity.

  • Nov 29, 20105:17 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @frankie d:

    All of the beat writers last year reported that Jerebko and Daye were relentlessly in the weight room with Ben Wallace. There were a handful of stories about Daye’s effort to gain weight and Jerebko’s effort to become a better all-around offensive player.

    I assume if Summers was doing these things, it would’ve been mentioned by the local beat writers or Pistons.com.

    As far as playing time, it was there for the taking last year. Prince was hurt most of the season. Jerebko played significant minutes. Daye was in and out of the rotation, but he did get decent minutes when everyone was out due to injury. Summers got some opportunities and he just didn’t play very well.

    You mention that Blair and Young were “given” minutes. I would counter that they “earned” minutes. You think if Blair didn’t bust his ass in practice he would’ve seen the court in San Antonio? They had Duncan, McDyess, Ratliff, Bonner all ahead of him going into the season. Same thing with Young. Memphis was a solid team that had Rudy Gay and Mayo on the wings, with a first round pick, Demarre Carroll, as well. They wouldn’t have played Young if he didn’t prove in practice that he should play.

    I just don’t buy the excuses people make for Summers. He’s a young player on a bad team. It’s different than the Afflalo situation. Afflalo got squeezed in a numbers game. He was on a veteran team as a rookie that made the ECF. Hard to crack that rotation with Rip/Prince getting big minutes.

    And Afflalo, it was well-documented, worked his but off. It was written about all the time. Again, no one is writing those things about Summers. I feel like if he had been killing it in practice these past two years, Kuester would say, “Man … love that Summers kid. Wish we had more minutes for him.” They’ve never said anything like that.

    As for my impressions watching Summers play in college and in the summer league, I think I’ve fairly evaluated his game and upside.

    At Georgetown, he was an underachiever. The Big East had few players with the combo of strength/athleticism of Summers. He has a first round body and first round athleticism. But he was passive in college, his defense came and went and there were times you couldn’t even remember he was on the court. It was really frustrating because there were other times when he looked like Georgetown’s best player.

    Compare him to former teammate Jeff Green. Both about the same height and build. Both similar athletically. Both are decent shooters, both can score around the basket pretty well. One is a NBA starter and the other has never cracked a rotation. The difference is simple: Green has a motor that never stopped while Summers had a motor that has always been hard to get started. Green was a beast in college because he was a bundle of energy and always active. Summers was the opposite.

    Look at Summers’ Summer League performances the last two years. I watched a lot of them. He got a ton of minutes. Some games, he was the most aggressive player on the court. Some games, he was content to never venture inside the three-point line on offense or defense.

    Do I have hard proof that he hasn’t worked hard enough with the Pistons? Not really. But it’s pretty easy to connect the dots based on his body of work in college and in the summer/preseason games. Summers has always been a NBA-level athlete, but now he’s at the point where he has to put the consistent effort and energy into the equation as well. Maybe he’ll get it at some point, but the list of great athletes who couldn’t figure out the other parts necessary to make it long term in the NBA is a lengthy one. Summers had as good an opportunity as anyone to win minutes last year, and I don’t buy that it didn’t happen just because the coach is incompetent or something like that. A lot of it is on Summers himself.

  • Nov 29, 20105:27 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @frankie d again:

    “btw, just because those players – brockman, blair, etc – were good players doesn’t make summers a bad pick.  even if the team cannot use him, one of the things that good gms do is develop their surplus young players and then use them as trade assets later on.
    last year, portland did exactly that when they traded a surplus SF – outlaw – along with steve blake, for a starting center, marcus camby.”

    That’s not a great example. That was a salary dump trade. The Clippers got $1.5 million in cash from Portland as well and also avoided paying Camby about $3 million in incentives that were set to kick in in his contract that Portland picked up.

    It wasn’t like Portland developed Outlaw and then used him in a trade to get better. Outlaw was injured and hadn’t played. His value was because he was an expiring contract. He wasn’t on his rookie deal anymore, he was making like $5 million.

    It’s not like the Pistons could’ve developed Summers and kept Buddinger, then two years later packaged them in a trade for, like, Al Jefferson or something.

    I’m all for player development. But Portland was able to make that deal because between Blake and Outlaw, they had the expiring contracts LA coveted to try and get more cap space for the 2010 free agent class. They weren’t interested in Outlaw because he was some great young prospect.

  • Nov 29, 20106:13 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    well, it certainly depends on the bench, but i suppose you could make a case that this would be a good enough starting five to sneak into the playoffs in the east. it’s certainly an unspectacular lineup, but it’s almost certainly better than our current starting five.
     
    @frankie: i’m not so sure summers’ playing time is being significantly affected by t-mac. daye is the one who’s suffering the most for that. summers was just a casualty of dumars deciding to draft three small forwards at once. i guess he wanted to make sure he could land tayshaun’s replacement, but he ensured that at least one of them would be squeezed out entirely. it’s my understanding that summers’s shot selection i his biggest problem. also, it seems odd that neither of the small forwards who the organization gives a damn about has played significant time at small forward. ugh.

  • Nov 29, 201011:02 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    I live in portland.
    Outlaw was a crucial bench player for the team. Over the years he made several game-winning, last-second shots. He just has a knack for doing so. In fact, it got to the point where mcmillen would use roy as a decoy to set up a shot for outlaw, at times.
    While he was injured, he had a clear path back and a defined role on the team. In fact, the team drafted the kid from nevada, whose name escapes me now, to hopefully take outlaw’s place as a valuable role player- shooter off the bench.. While it was unlikely that they would have resigned him, the team has to be given credit for developing one of their young guys and then getting something for him. When has joe d done that?
    Frankly, it is unbelievable that anyone would try to argue that rookies and young players in detroit get a fair shot, the kind of shot that other teams give their young players.
    Joe d has long stated that he’d prefer to not depend on young players and his actions clearly show that attitude.
    Other teams – like portland and utah and even san antoine actually encourage competition and will reward young guys who show they are ready.
    This has never been the case with detroit.
    If prince had not been injured, for all of his hustle, JJ would have spent the year on the bench.
    The most egregious example of the team’s ridiculous posture towards their young guys happened this year.
    How, people asked, was the logjam at SF and SG going to be resolved.
    Cometition, joe d assured. Whoever competes and takes the job with hard work and solid play will get the minutes.
    Yea…right.
    A guy who played hardly a minute of preseason – mcgrady – was simply given a role in the rotation. While guys like summers, who played well in both preseason and the summer league – and I saw every SL game and whatever was shown in preseason- gets put at the end of the bench.
    Tell me…how did mcgrady “earn” his PT when he hardly got on the court?
    And I don’t believe a word the local BB beat writers put out. They are basically adjuncts of the pistons’ PR department and are a truly sorry bunch of so-called sports journalists.
    Why should any local fan believe anything they write when they routinely fail to inform local fans about the simplest of matters?
    That is why I will never “assume” something to be true or untrue based ion what that sorry group – and I include keith langlois in that bunch – puts out for public consumption.

  • Nov 29, 201011:35 pm
    by Mike Payne

    Reply

    @frankie d:
    “While guys like summers, who played well in both preseason and the summer league”
    You’re re-writing history.  Summers played quite poorly in the preseason.  And in Vegas, shooting 41% with 3 turnovers per game against summer league scrubs does not equal “playing well”.
    The problem is that Summers showed no tangible improvement in the Summer League or the Preseason.  Just more inefficient shooting and poor rebounding for his size that matched his performance in his rookie season.
    Kuester gave McGrady a role in the rotation because even with a back made of tires and skunks, he’s twice the player that DaJuan Summers is today.  I could explain this with objective means, but I’m not really in the mood for your straw man tactics and circular arguments.  So I’ll just end this with “you’re right, my sweet Portland Attorney” and go about my merry way.

  • Nov 29, 201011:41 pm
    by nuetes

    Reply

    I have to agree with most on Summers. Dude just isn’t that good. He looks like he should be good, but he’s just not. He’s got the body, and seems to have the athleticism, and he’s physical, but he’s missing a lot. He takes poor shots, doesn’t pass the ball, doesn’t rebound, and doesn’t handle it well. If he goes somewhere and succeeds like the rest I’ll be shocked. I don’t know how to define his game because he hasn’t played a ton, but summer league, limited time, etc the thing that stands out the most when Summers plays is the amount of zeros across the board on his box score outside of his shots and points.
     
    If you look at Summer’s per 36 stats, which seem to be the go to stat for scrubs that don’t play much, what you see is 0 blocks, 0 assists, 0 steals, and 4 turnovers. He doesn’t contribute enough. He could maybe make a career as a spot up shooter ala James Jones or something. It’s not to say he’s worthless or will never succeed, but if he wants to stay in the league he has to find a specialty to exploit. There are plenty of players that I would deem to be like Summers getting playing time in the NBA – guys like Wilson Chandler or Al Thornton, so if Summers finds some crappy team he can go play on maybe he can have that kind of success.

  • Nov 30, 201012:08 am
    by Mike Payne

    Reply

    @nuetes:
    Agreed.  There was plenty of evidence to suggest that both Arron Afflalo and Amir Johnson could be effective given the proper PT.  Summers just hasn’t established that evidence, and his inability to carve himself a spot in the rotation (last year especially) suggests that he’s not getting it done in practice either.

  • Nov 30, 20103:33 am
    by frankie d

    Reply

    i watched the summer league games.
    summers was one of the 3 best players on that roster and showed lots of the skills that made him such an intriguing prospect.  he also played well during the preseason, and showed that he at least deserved a shot at playing time.  and most importantly, nba PT is where guys prove or show that they cannot play.
    and the idea that guys prove that they deserve time – at least in detroit – based on how they perform in summer league and preseason and in practice is disproved each game when a guy like daye, who has been outstanding at each level, ends up getting dnps while a guy like mcgrady plays.
    and again, you simply ignore tough issues, as you’ve repeatedly done when i’ve posed them to you.
    not the best way to build credibility.
    like, for instance, when has joe d made such an easy transaction involving a young player, one where he has turned that young player into a decent asset, like a good player – camby – or a first round draft choice?
    you may think that mcgrady is a much better player than summers, but that is not the criteria that joe d laid down when the question of playing time was broached.  he specifically stated that on-court competition was going to decide who would play.
    so it matters not a whit what your opinion is, and it matters not a whit what one may think of mcgrady’s current playing level – he is like an old man at the “y” from my perspective; almost immobile and incapable of doing things that most nba players do on a regular basis – but what matters is what joe d told fans: that competition would dictate playing time.
    but when it came down to it, mcgrady was gifted minutes despite his infirmities.  and despite the fact that he was not healthy enough to compete at all.
    that is a fact.
    unfortunately, you appear to be one of the many gullible detroit fans who have swallowed, hook, line and sinker the diversion that joe d has fed locals.
    the shiny object over in the corner is t-mac and he is designed to take attention away from the fact that joe d is failing miserably at his job.
    want data on that?
    39 wins 2 years ago.
    27 wins last year.
    on track for something like 31-35 wins this season.
    now that’s a stat very easily understood.
     

  • Nov 30, 20103:35 am
    by frankie d

    Reply

    mike payne wrote:
    “There was plenty of evidence to suggest that both Arron Afflalo and Amir Johnson could be effective given the proper PT. ”
    what evidence was that?

  • Nov 30, 20108:19 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @frankie d:
    Per-minute stats for starters. Johnson’s per-minute rebounding and blocked shots rates were incredible in Detroit. That never translated into more minutes for him.
    And Afflalo has become one of the best 3-point shooters in the league in Denver. Was there evidence he’d do that in Detroit? Yep. He shot 40 percent from three his second season with the Pistons.
    Summers averaged about 12 points per 36 minutes last year and shot a miserable 35 percent from the field. What flashes has he shown that he can be a productive player with more minutes?

  • Nov 30, 20108:36 am
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @frankie d again:
    “like, for instance, when has joe d made such an easy transaction involving a young player, one where he has turned that young player into a decent asset, like a good player – camby – or a first round draft choice?”
    Are you serious? He’s made those types of trades all the time!
    - Mateen Cleaves for Jon Barry and a future first round pick (which became Carlos Delfino).
    - Rodney White for a future first round pick
    - The first round pick that he acquired in the White trade, Bob Sura, Zelly Rebracca and Chucky Atkins for Rasheed Wallace and Mike James.
    - Traded Jerome Williams/Eric Montross for Corliss Williamson, Ty Corbin, Kornel David and a future first round pick.
    - Traded John Wallace/Jud Buechler for Cliff Robinson.
    - Traded Jerry Stackhouse (aging, expensive vet) for Rip Hamilton (young, cheaper, more efficient player).
    - Traded not good players like Mengke Bateer and Ronald Dupree, who both would’ve been released, for second round picks.
    Come on man. This stuff is not hard to look up. I’ve said on numerous occasions that the last two and half offseasons have not been good ones for the Pistons, but your statement is just patently false.
    The one thing that Joe Dumars consistently did well through the first eight years of his GM career was turn either young players or players who are declining or not very good in the first place into better assets.
    Your accusations are tired man. If you don’t like what’s written here, there’s a simple solution: don’t read it. Go to MLive. They let any disagreeable loudmouth who hates to look things up or back up statements with actual facts (and no, sorry, just because you perceive it a certain way doesn’t make it a fact) have free reign of the comments there. I don’t play that game here though. Don’t accuse people of weakassness and then bring absolutely no data to the table yourself.
     

  • Nov 30, 201011:23 am
    by Mike Payne

    Reply

    @frankie d:
    i watched the summer league games.
    me too!!  best buds for life?
    summers was one of the 3 best players on that roster and showed lots of the skills that made him such an intriguing prospect.
    Again, you simply ignore tough issues, as you’ve repeatedly done when i’ve posed them to you.  Shooting 41% from the field and turning the ball over 3 times per game does not make for “good” summer league play, especially when you bring little to nothing else to the table other than scoring (inefficiently).  Additionally, being one of the “3 best players” on a roster featuring such dream talents as Marquez Haynes and Jared Reiner does not mean a damn thing.
    he also played well during the preseason, and showed that he at least deserved a shot at playing time.
    6 points per game on 40% shooting was more-of-the-same from Summers, and his preseason was about as ho-hum as his career has been thus far.  He showed no improvement, none, nothing over what he did the season before.
    Speaking of more-of-the-same, here’s Frankie D returning to yet another argument, completely ignoring objectivity when his opinion is in complete contrast to what actually happened and was recorded in basic stats.  Your turn!

  • Nov 30, 201012:55 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    funny that all of the instances where joe d did anything of value with young players are from what…6 or 7 years ago?
    got any more recent examples?
    like within the last 3 or 4 years?
    and trading ronald dupree doesn’t make it in my book.
    which is my point exactly.
    when has dumars done anything like what portland did with outlaw?
    6 or 7 years ago.  something changed and dumars approach to his job has suffered.  while he was once one of the best gms around, now he is a shell of himself.

  • Nov 30, 20101:18 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    “And Afflalo has become one of the best 3-point shooters in the league in Denver. Was there evidence he’d do that in Detroit? Yep. He shot 40 percent from three his second season with the Pistons.”
    gee, summers was a rookie last year.  i wonder why you would bring up afflalo’s stats from his second year and not make a mention of his rookie stats, the stats most relevant to any comparison to a ROOKIE summers.
    common sense says that one compares apples to apples, which would be rookie years between two players, if one is going to argue that one player showed certain potential while another did not show any potential.
    let’s take a look at the respective numbers from the rookie years of afflalo and summers, which as any fair person would agree is what is most similar.
    afflalo – .208 3 point shooting percentage, 3.7 points per game per 36 minutes.
    summers – .357 on 3′s and a 11.9 points per game over 36 minutes.
    btw, dayes numbers are .305 and 13.7.
    this is what you argued:
    “There was plenty of evidence to suggest that both Arron Afflalo and Amir Johnson could be effective given the proper PT.  Summers just hasn’t established that evidence, and his inability to carve himself a spot in the rotation (last year especially) suggests that he’s not getting it done in practice…”
    so if this is part of the evidence that suggests that afflalo could be effective, and the similar evidence from summers is actually BETTER what does that say about your contention that summers simply has not established that evidence?
    i think the answer is clear.
    and i’m not disagreeable at all.  while i made an intemperate, personal slam a few weeks ago, i’ve acknowledged that such a move was a mistake and stuck to BB since.
    i’m a basketball fan.  a detroit pistons’ basketball fan and i read just about everything i can about the pistons. even stuff i don’t necessarily agree with or like.  one learns quite a bit from reading as much as one can.
    what i can see, however, is that you get frustrated when someone – someone who probably knows more about basketball than you – can come back at you with arguments that you cannot answer and therefore choose to either distort or ignore.
    imho, the disagreeable voice here is yours.  i’m talking basketball; you are engaging in ad hominem attacks to divert attention from the fact that you cannot support the arguments you’ve made.
    certainly your prerogative, but it’s pretty obvious to anyone following this exchange.
    and just for the record, in case you prevent me from accessing your site any longer, i’m a huge afflalo fan – and a big amir fan – and think that both could have been a huge part of a revitalized detroit team.  imho, if afflalo was a starter, with amir a 25 minute a game rotation player, this pistons’ team would be much, much better.
    imho, afflalo was the guy who should have been the leader of the new generation of pistons, a guy who set the tone and established the team’s identity.
    just my opinion…
     
     

  • Nov 30, 20101:34 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    and just so the record is clear, this is what YOU posted just recently:
    Friend of PP Mike Payne (From Detroit Bad Boys) pointed out, despite the protests of know-it-all commenter Frankie D…”
    i had not read the site for a few days, but someone at the pistons’ news forum alerted all the forumites about the comment so i came back over to check it out.  all of the guys who regularly post there got a good laugh out of it, myself included.
    but a blogger, without provocation calls a commenter a “know-it-all” out of the clear blue, and that is somehow appropriate.
    and i’m the one who is disagreeable?…

  • Nov 30, 20101:38 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @frankie d:
    “funny that all of the instances where joe d did anything of value with young players are from what…6 or 7 years ago?
    got any more recent examples?”
    Nope. I don’t. This was your original comment: “when has joe d made such an easy transaction involving a young player, one where he has turned that young player into a decent asset, like a good player – camby – or a first round draft choice?”
    Note that your original comment wasn’t “Name a time in the last three years he has done this.”
    He’s made at least seven trades similar to the ones you described in your love letter to Portland. So your statement, the one I responded to, is not an accurate one.
    As for Afflalo, yeah, he shot it poorly as a rookie. And you know what he did? He was a gym rat and he improved from 20 percent from three to 40 percent. Summers put up pretty much the same numbers in summer league/preseason from year one to year two.
    Afflalo is not going to be a star player. But he’s made himself into a very good starting caliber player in the NBA because he focused on two particular skills that make him valuable: he’s among the league’s best 3-point shooters and he’s a good defensive player.
    Summers has no skill that is sharp enough to get him on the court. He can do some things OK. But until he makes his 3-pointer so consistent that teams have to get him on the court, or until he uses his immense physical gifts to become a lockdown defender, he’s not getting on a court for anyone.

  • Nov 30, 20102:28 pm
    by frankie d

    Reply

    oh…so you acknowledge that he has immense physical gifts, but you just know by virtue of ….what?…that he is not going to be a player.
    pure conjecture… which is exactly my point.
    you are expressing your opinion about summers.
    fine.  you are certainly entitled to it. but it is still nothing but your opinion.
    my approach? i’d prefer that he either prove or disprove his worthiness on the basketball court.  on my basketball team, i’d love to have a 6’9″, 245 lb physical player who can hit .36% on his 3 pointers.  and i would certainly give that player a shot to either prove or disprove that he could not contribute.
    i also find it ironic that someone who seemingly is so infatuated with stats and numbers would put any credence in the numbers related to summers.  there is such a small sample that it is impossible to glean anything meaningful from them from a statistical point of view.
    the pistons recent record of handling their young players shows that they have not been ready to give young players that kind of opportunity.
    this is what the pistons themselves said about summers:
    “The 2009 second-rounder out of Georgetown, Summers is a natural scorer with deep shooting range and an ideal NBA physique who spent the summer working on his ballhandling to better make use of his physical gifts by getting into the paint.
    “The only way you can create plays is if you have good ballhandling skills,” he said. “It’s just that simple. Being able to control the ball and change speeds with it, go fast with it and then slow and control it at the same time is important. It’s both hands. I want them to be identical so you can’t tell which is my dominant hand.”
    “The thing with him is just his confidence,” Sullivan said. “It’s hard. But he’s a solid pro. He’s got a chance to be a really good player. He’s got unique skills as a pro – a 6-8, strong, athletic guy who can score. I don’t know if he’s a three or a four, but I know he’s a forward and he presents a lot of problems for the guys who have to guard him.
    “He can score off the elbows, he can score in the post, he can defend, he can rebound. We were watching film the other day and he was defending Wade. We were like, ‘Who’s that? Oh, that’s DaJuan – guarding a guy like that!’ He’s the perfect-sized guy to be able to defend players like that and it all goes back to confidence.”
    http://www.nba.com/pistons/features/on_the_rebound_100920.html
    gee…sounds like a player who just might be a “solid pro” in the team’s own words, if given a shot.  wonder why he doesn’t get a chance to play?
    might have something to do with signing hobbled vets who play the same position.
    and, you also proved my point about dumars.
    he is not the same gm that he was years ago.
    years ago, he built a title team in an way that established him as one of the, if not the, best gms in the league.
    unfortunately, those days are long gone and instead, he’s been doing the dumb things that are too numerous to get into at this point.
    finally – and i’m through with summers – but he is simply an example of a disturbing attitude.  drafting talented players, letting them languish on the bench and then dumping them for next to nothing.  and i predict that he will be another example of that kind of young guy who goes elsewhere and carves out a niche in the league.
    ironically, this site had a post that featured some of the players who would fit into that description, and you balked when i included summers in that group.
    again, that is your opinion and you are entitled to it, though i continue to maintain that there is little, if any evidence to support your claim.
    and obviously, the pistons themselves see real value in the guy, even if they haven’t seen fit to give him a legitmate shot.

  • Nov 30, 20102:52 pm
    by Laser

    Reply

    i’ve long been a defender of dajuan summers. i felt like whenever he took the floor he did something good, and i never thought he had a fair shake. the knock on him is that he takes bad shots. good stroke, big athletic body, but takes bad shots.
     
    i always thought he deserved playing time, but there was at least one performance where he took a ton of shots and made like one of them. it was a poor enough performance that, against my better judgment, i feel like detroit is probably right to keep him out of the rotation when we have so many other options at SF.
     
    that said, i think he never got a fair shake here. when you (1) draft three small forwards at once, (2) fail to trade the player they’re supposed to replace, (3) have so many shooting guards that they can’t play enough minutes without sliding one of them over to SF, and (4) sign another SF with a big name for no obvious reason, somebody’s getting squeezed out. summers just happens to be that casualty. and given the alternative, i think you just have to live with it. i accept that.
     
    the team failed summers by drafting three guys at the same position. they gave themselves a good shot at finding a suitable replacement for tayshaun, but they made damn sure they wouldn’t end up with three rotation players. but the mistake was made during the draft.
     
    sort of like how any game the pistons play against playoff teams this year were lost in the offseason when joe kept a team together that can’t compete.

  • Nov 30, 20103:31 pm
    by nuetes

    Reply

    Afflalo was a guy that carved a niche his first year in the league. He was a guy fans were happy to see on the court locking dudes down defensively and getting up in their grills. That’s how you make it in the NBA if your not a star player, you fill niches. or roles as PCB would put them. Afflalo worked hard on his 3 point shot and he’s not a bad ball handler either. He’s turned himself into a guy you can have on the court on both ends of the floor. He’s not going to star on offense, but his overall game is very good imo.
     
    What is Summers good at? Anything? His 3 point shot is his only redeeming trait. He shot a higher % from 3 than his overall FG% last season. His shot selection isn’t all that great, and he contributes nothing else. He can’t handle the ball that well. He hasn’t shown that he can be a lockdown defender, even with his size and athletic looking body. It’s up to Summers to hone some skill that he can use to carve his own niche in the league, but if he remains below average at doing everything he simply won’t be an NBA player very long.

  • Nov 30, 20107:06 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    I’m not necessarily saying Summers will never make it. He might. But it has been very clear in the limited minutes he’s played vs. those of Daye and Jerebko that those two players offer more than Summers.
    Jerebko got on the court last year because he played defense and he was a really good offensive rebounder. Daye got on the court this year because he had a great preseason and he’s shown a diverse offensive repertoire. Has Summers ever shown he can put it on the floor? Rebound? I don’t see any evidence.
    His shooting percentages have been really poor, which you do not seem to acknowledge. As nuetes points out, he has been weak on the boards and doesn’t get assists based on per-minute stats.
    Summers is a prospect because he’s big, strong, athletic and he has range. But he’s still exactly the same player now that he was at Georgetown — a guy with physical gifts who doesn’t really do one thing enough to be considered a role player. Jerebko and Daye both have individual things they do well enough to warrant some minutes.
    And your whole McGrady vs. Summers argument doesn’t cut it for me. At the very least, McGrady has shown that he’s still a very good passer, he handles the ball well enough for the Pistons to have won a game with McGrady playing a lot of the PG minutes that game and, at this point in their careers, McGrady has a higher basketball IQ than Summers by far. There’s no doubt that the Pistons are better (not that they’re good with either) with McGrady in the game than they would be with Summers.

  • Nov 30, 20107:20 pm
    by Patrick Hayes

    Reply

    @Frankie D:

    “all of the guys who regularly post there got a good laugh out of it, myself included.
    but a blogger, without provocation calls a commenter a “know-it-all” out of the clear blue, and that is somehow appropriate.
    and i’m the one who is disagreeable?”

    Yeah, you’re disagreeable. These are the things I know about you as a Pistons fan:

    - You think Joe Dumars should be fired.

    - You think Tracy McGrady has been terrible this season.

    - You think DaJuan Summers played “well” in two straight preseasons and summer leagues when he shot below 40 percent.

    When thoughts contrary to those things have been posted here, you post hundreds and hundreds of words in diatribes responding. Yes, that makes you disagreeable. I didn’t mean it as an insult, it just is what it is. You disagreeable. So am I. BFD.

     

  • Dec 2, 20105:17 am
    by Dan Feldman

    Reply

    Frankie, your argument is based on a total lack of faith in NBA coaches. I can’t prove that you’re wrong, but do you really have no faith in the Pistons’ coaches?

    Afflalo saw minutes on playoff teams. Summers isn’t playing for bad teams. Is that just a coincidence?

    I’ve never gotten playing time. Does that mean I might be good enough for a rotation spot? You don’t know otherwise.

    In his limited minutes Affalo showed ability, and that’s part of the reason his playing time increased. Summers has never showed that, and that’s part of the reason he hasn’t played more.

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