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Lawrence Frank uses advanced stats – hooray (to show the Pistons’ defense has improved – hooray)

Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press:

Coach Lawrence Frank cited stats after practice Monday that say Detroit was 29th out of 30 teams defensively in January. The Pistons improved to 17th during February and were eighth during March.

When I read that, I worried Lawrence Frank wasn’t the progressive coach I thought he was and was using points per game – a misleading stat, especially considering Detroit’s slow pace – to describe the Pistons’ defensive ability. So, I checked the numbers.

Points allowed per game:

  • January: 24th
  • February: 12th
  • March: 7th

With my hope renewed, I checked a more telling stat.

Defensive rating:

  • January: 29th
  • February: 17th
  • March: 8th

Matches perfectly with what Frank said. It’s also very encouraging in a basketball sense, so that’s also pretty great all around.

Statistical support for this story from NBA.com.

39 Comments

  • Apr 3, 201212:15 pm
    by Victor Fontana

    Reply

    Ladies and gentlemen, we have a head coach!

  • Apr 3, 201212:38 pm
    by EMan

    Reply

    True Blue Pistons said it was based on defensive efficiency.

  • Apr 3, 201212:39 pm
    by Al

    Reply

    Sound coaching is showing up. Hats off to Frank and the boys, especially with the crazy schedule and limited practice sessions they had available this season. Hard work pays off! Go Pistons!

  • Apr 3, 201212:53 pm
    by Sean Corp

    Reply

    Where are you getting these defensive efficiency numbers by month. I saw the same article and wanted to check which metric he was using. I couldn’t find any monthly team-by-team breakdowns of defensive efficiency. 

    And when i did a back of the envelope calculation I saw that the teams DeffE was about 102 in March, which is below league average overall. I find it hard to believe that puts them eighth in the NBA for the month.

    • Apr 3, 20125:31 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      How did you do a back of the envelope calc? Do you assume # of possessions = fga + tov – oreb?

  • Apr 3, 20121:10 pm
    by Mel Crosby

    Reply

    This is from espn and it’s for the season not the month of March.

    1
    Philadelphia
    93.6
    87.8
    +5.8
    .448
    .421
    .369
    .316
    .734
    .242
    .751
    .497
    11.0
    14.1

    2
    Chicago
    96.8
    88.8
    +8.0
    .455
    .428
    .378
    .332
    .722
    .328
    .736
    .535
    14.0
    13.3

    3
    Boston
    91.6
    89.8
    +1.8
    .458
    .420
    .360
    .302
    .781
    .201
    .719
    .471
    14.9
    15.5

    4
    Orlando
    94.3
    92.5
    +1.8
    .443
    .440
    .380
    .343
    .645
    .263
    .751
    .507
    15.5
    13.2

    5
    Atlanta
    94.6
    93.1
    +1.5
    .445
    .441
    .369
    .339
    .731
    .242
    .741
    .492
    14.1
    15.0

    6
    Dallas
    94.4
    93.4
    +1.0
    .439
    .432
    .331
    .335
    .758
    .232
    .746
    .490
    14.0
    15.1

    7
    Miami
    100.7
    93.5
    +7.2
    .479
    .429
    .374
    .371
    .774
    .263
    .733
    .510
    14.9
    16.9

    8
    New Orleans
    88.9
    93.7
    -4.8
    .447
    .448
    .331
    .314
    .758
    .278
    .733
    .507
    15.5
    14.1

    9
    Indiana
    96.4
    93.8
    +2.6
    .437
    .434
    .370
    .349
    .777
    .288
    .723
    .508
    14.4
    15.1

    Memphis
    95.2
    93.8
    +1.4
    .446
    .445
    .314
    .353
    .756
    .294
    .731
    .508
    14.6
    17.4

    POINTS
    FG PCT
    3PT PCT

    REBOUND PCT
    TURNOVERS

    RK
    TEAM
    OWN
    OPP
    DIFF
    OWN
    OPP
    OWN
    OPP
    FT%
    OFF
    DEF
    TOT
    OWN
    OPP

    11
    LA Lakers
    96.3
    93.9
    +2.4
    .456
    .429
    .317
    .324
    .757
    .286
    .742
    .527
    15.2
    11.5

    12
    New York
    97.1
    94.4
    +2.7
    .437
    .440
    .315
    .353
    .745
    .274
    .744
    .506
    16.6
    17.4

    13
    LA Clippers
    97.1
    94.8
    +2.3
    .452
    .445
    .351
    .368
    .684
    .295
    .737
    .514
    13.3
    14.2

    14
    Detroit
    89.9
    95.4
    -5.5
    .434
    .468
    .344
    .358
    .759
    .286
    .729
    .499
    15.7
    14.7

  • Apr 3, 20121:15 pm
    by Mel Crosby

    Reply

    Sorry about the crazy post, I didn’t set it up right. But also, one of L Frank ‘s assistant coaches is a stats guy. That’s probably where he gets his from.

  • Apr 3, 20121:24 pm
    by Tiko

    Reply

    14 games left. Please win no more than 4

  • Apr 3, 20122:08 pm
    by danny

    Reply

    Not surprising.

  • Apr 3, 20122:11 pm
    by Nick II

    Reply

    For some strange reason I have a feeling that Detroit wins the lottery and get Anthony Davis. Of all the lottery teams Detroit has the best coaching staff and environment for Davis to florish. Plus the last time we won the lottery was when we got Dave Bing so we are long over due for so good luck.

    • Apr 3, 20122:41 pm
      by Youssif

      Reply

      That would be epic. Makes us contenders in 2 years barring any Joe D mishaps (i.e. extending CV’s contract) or injuries.

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    • Apr 3, 20124:41 pm
      by vic

      Reply

      I have that feeling too, or at least a top 3 pick.
      Just to spite the teams that have been tanking, and show people that tanking doesnt work, if they couldnt figure it from our last 2 drafts (where we got top 5 producers at 7 and 8) or from our championship seasons, Or from this article:
      http://wagesofwins.com/2012/04/02/why-tanking-doesnt-work-in-the-nba/

      • Apr 3, 20125:39 pm
        by tarsier

        Reply

        How is Knight a top 5 producer from this last draft? I like his potential, but thus far he has not played particularly well on the balance. Really just flashes.

        Also, the rationale in that article is terrible (as was pointed out and better articulated by myself and at least one other commenter the last time you linked to it). Tanking is no sure thing, but the vast majority of great teams have a player they drafted by having a terrible year. That is evidence that bottoming out is beneficial.

        • Apr 4, 20123:16 pm
          by Max

          Reply

          How is Knight not a top five producer from the draft?

          • Apr 4, 20125:20 pm
            by tarsier

            To make my case, I would have to make an argument for at least 5 rookies ahead of him. I can’t be bothered to do that at this point so I will reference you to NBA.com’s rookie ladder. Tell me which of those listed ahead of Knight you don’t think have outproduced him and then I can make an argument hopefully for just a couple guys.

            http://www.nba.com/rookie-ladder/

            To me, it seems rather obvious that the top 5 have all outproduced Knight thus far. The next 5, including Knight, are all pretty comparable and could be shuffled in any order.

    • Apr 3, 20125:41 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      You have a feeling? And we are overdue for a truly random process? Well those are definitely some arguments you can take to the bank.

  • Apr 3, 20123:19 pm
    by Al

    Reply

    Yea that would be cool to win the lottery… And then we all woke up lol

  • Apr 3, 20123:46 pm
    by Nick II

    Reply

    LOL I know it sounds crazy, but we the only team that ain’t won the lottery in about 40 yrs. David Stern need to help us out for a change LOL.

    • Apr 3, 20125:43 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      David Stern does not control the lottery. How come NBA fans always seem to think he does? It’s a bunch of ping pong balls. Do you also think that the CEO of power ball or whatever controls the outcome of who hits the jackpot? To say that of Stern is equally absurd.

      • Apr 4, 20123:48 am
        by Nick II

        Reply

        First of all I was joking when I said Stern control the draft lottery.Did you see the lol after I said it.And second how do you know its not rigged.Do you work for the NBA?If it’s not rigged then why don’t they show the ping pong balls on tv like they used to do.

        • Apr 4, 20129:04 am
          by tarsier

          Reply

          I know it’s not rigged because there is a representative from each team watching the process. If it were rigged, someone would be getting the short end of the stick and it would get out. They don’t show the ping pong balls on tv because they want to reveal who won by telling who has which draft pick in reverse order. It builds up suspense and therefore increases ratings and viewer time. If we just watched them draw a few sets of numbers out of the machine, it would be a very short program.

          I’m sorry for not realizing you were joking. There were so very many things that LOL could have meant that it was not clear that it meant I don’t believe what I was saying. And I am very accustomed to reading comments from fans that appear in all seriousness to believe that Stern decides the outcome of the lottery. So when I see more such comments, I tend to believe they are meant unless the sarcasm is blatant.

          • Apr 4, 20123:21 pm
            by Max

            I don’t truly believe that Stern runs the lottery but Ewing, Penny and Rose at least seem suspicious.  In some respects, the lottery has generally turned out so well from a league standpoint that it seems fishy.  Also, the worst team seemingly never gets the first pick despite having the best chance and certain teams have never won the lottery despite having a great chance every year.

          • Apr 4, 20125:31 pm
            by tarsier

            How was it particularly better for the league to have one team win the lottery than another? Is it really better that Wall is in Washington than if he were on the Clippers? Or better for Irving to be in Cleveland than in Toronto? Or better for Griffin to have gone to LA than to New Jersey?

  • Apr 3, 20125:03 pm
    by Al

    Reply

    I too said that very same thing!! Like man, we have a bad record too! smh but the lottery draws never play into our favor!! Smh when is the last time we chose top 3???? It would be a very pleasant surprise tho..

    • Apr 3, 20125:37 pm
      by Chris H

      Reply

      We chose two 3 in 2003, did you seriously forget Darko?

    • Apr 3, 20125:46 pm
      by tarsier

      Reply

      The Pistons selected Milicic second overall less than a decade ago. And they got Thomas second overall a few decades ago. Considering how many years the Pistons have spent in the lottery of late, they haven’t had particularly bad luck. Not that previous outcomes are at all relevant to this year’s outcome.

  • Apr 3, 20125:50 pm
    by Chris H

    Reply

    Since I brough up the 2003 draft  just a post earlier I thought I would mention that Anthony and Bosh were both picked befre Wade.  So we really don’t know what we’ll be getting.  If this draft is supposed to be as talented as the 2003 draft I’d be pretty happy with a top 8 pick.

  • Apr 3, 20126:57 pm
    by Mel

    Reply

    Don’t forget Grant Hill

    • Apr 4, 20129:04 am
      by tarsier

      Reply

      Yeah my bad. He completely slipped my mind.

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