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TomShoe's Player Profiles: Detroit Pistons

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TomShoe's Player Profiles: Detroit Pistons

So, it turns out "Mr. PER" John Hollinger is putting up his updated player profiles for this year. I know many people want to look at them, but ESPN can be a real B- when they're putting up paywalls and shoving the benefits of insider in your face every other article. So, for sh*ts and giggles, also because I'm pulling my hair out waiting for either Oct. 5 (Start of the preseason), or Oct. 30 (start of the regular season), I might as well post them here, for nbadraft.net and the whole internet to enjoy.

Who's excited? I'm excited. Because:

1. Tomorrow's my birthday, I'll be 17 :)

2. Friday is the first preseason game, the first NBA ball I've seen since July. Hyped.

Anyway, Pistons up, Suns tomorrow, and the Adam Morrison-led Trailblazers up Friday.

Enjoy.

- TomShoe

PROJECTED STARTERS

BRANDON KNIGHT, PG

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

15.8
3.9
4.7
11.4

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Scoring-minded, very quick combo guard who can slash to hoop. Drives to score.
+ Middling shooter with a line-drive jumper from under his chin. Low free throw rate.
+ Long-armed defender with tremendous lateral quickness. Rebounds well for size.

Analysis
I wasn't wild about Knight a season ago and I'm still not now, as he added to the Pistons' collection of shoot-first combo guards by posting the fifth-worst pure point rating at his position and struggling to convert off the dribble. Knight made 38.0 percent of his 3s, but his form seemed to break down off the bounce -- he made only 31.9 percent of his 2s between 10 and 23 feet, which largely came on dribble moves. And while he got to the basket at a decent clip, he neither drew fouls nor found teammates.

Knight's defensive numbers weren't great either, but long-term this is where I like him best. He moves very well laterally and likely just needs to add strength and learn the ropes of NBA defense before he'll be a quality defender. He's a low-risk guy who had one of the lowest steal rates at his position, but at 6-3 with long arms he'll be able to check a lot of 2s in time.

Perhaps Knight's best stat is 21, his age in December. 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.

RODNEY STUCKEY, SG

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

19.1
3.6
5.6
16.7

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Huge combo guard who can overpower small guards on post-ups. Poor shooter.
+ Quick and can get to basket; draws heaps of fouls but not a great finisher.
+ Struggles to defend quick guards. Average distributor more comfortable at the 2.

Analysis
Well, better late than never. After four years of watching their 6-5 point guard play exactly like a shooting guard and struggle to defend quick point guards, the Pistons finally had the genius idea that maybe he should be playing the wing. Unfortunately, they replaced him with another shoot-first point guard who did most of the same things, so they didn't really come out ahead on the bargain.

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, giving him one of the best secondary percentages at his position despite rarely making 3s. Complementing that was the one aspect where Stuckey shoots well -- the foul line, hitting 83.4 percent.

Stuckey took nearly half his shots at the rim and while he wasn't great, hitting 53.3 percent, he was good enough once you factored in all the fouls. On the perimeter it was a different story. He hit just 31.7 percent of his 3s and 35.7 percent of his long 2s, so overall his shooting percentage was really ordinary; it's all the fouls that make him an effective offensive player. One notable change that might help would be to increase Detroit's sluggish tempo; Stuckey is pretty good in transition but gets few chances on this team.

Defensively, Stuckey's stats are a mixed bag. Synergy rated him one of the worst guards in basketball but his plus-minus and opponent numbers were solid, and in previous seasons Stuckey rated as an average defender. Subjectively that's how he looked too, so we'll stick with that presumption until more emphatic proof emerges otherwise.

TAYSHAUN PRINCE, SF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

14.4
5.3
2.9
12.5

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Long-armed, rail-thin wing lefty. Quality defender who rarely gambles or fouls.
+ Mostly shoots midrange jumpers but can finish at rim. Runs floor well.
+ Has point forward's handle but lacks burst off dribble. Rarely turns it over.

Analysis
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. I'm baffled why Detroit kept running plays for him, as he was basically a taker of long 2-pointers that didn't go in. Prince took nearly seven a game but made only 38.5 percent of them; along with that, he had one of the lowest free throw rates at his position and finished 64th out of 67 small forwards in secondary percentage.

Prince did bring some positives -- he's an excellent passer and never turns it over, so he could operate almost as a point guard (especially since this team didn't have a real one). He finished seventh among small forwards in pure point rating as a result.

However, his shooting percentage at the rim declined noticeably, from a league-leading 77.5 percent to 63.3 percent, and at the defensive end he was much more wobbly as a stopper than the previous season. While his results were still OK -- a solid Synergy rating and an 11.4 opponent PER according to 82games.com -- the Pistons gave up 7.4 points per 100 possessions more with him on the court.

The most notable thing about Prince's defense, though, is that he's the league's most extreme non-gambler. He uses his long arms to play two steps off his man, and as a result virtually never steals the ball or fouls. He had the lowest rate of both steals and fouls among small forwards, and the fourth-lowest foul rate in the entire league.

JASON MAXIELL, PF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

11.1
8.8
1.1
11.1

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Undersized, strong, tough big man with explosive two-footed leaping ability.
+ Good finisher but no post game or ball skills. Can make open jumper.
+ Improved conditioning. Lack of size an impediment on defense. Poor rebounder.

Analysis
Maxiell got in better shape and somewhat revived his flagging career, with the help of Detroit's decision to keep him in the starting lineup most of the season. He started 42 games, even though he was 53rd among power forwards in PER and average at best on defense, and while he improved his rebound rate he was still miles short of his best seasons.

It appears he's lost some of the explosion that made him such a force as an undersized frontcourt player. 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 a related story, he drew dramatically fewer fouls, so although he scored a bit more often, his true shooting percentage was just 55th at his position. Producing just 11.6 points per 40 minutes with an average rebound rate, it wasn't clear what he brought to the table.

Defensively, Maxiell's muscle spared Greg Monroe some bad strength matchups, and this was probably the best case for his being on the floor. While his numbers weren't great -- opposing power forwards had a 17.5 PER against him -- the Pistons played better with him on the court and he blocks shots.

GREG MONROE, C

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

20.7
12.6
3.0
23.1

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Long lefty with great nose for rebounds. Below-rim finisher. Makes foul shots.
+ Iffy outside shooter who can handle and pass. Doesn't block shots.
+ Tweener defensively. Lacks muscle for 5 but slow for a 4. Struggles in help D.

Analysis
Monroe had a breakout second season, and while some weaknesses remain it's getting pretty easy to imagine him showing up on an All-Star team in the near future. He averaged nearly a point every two minutes with a strong true shooting percentage, showing a low-post game and some face-up skills while having great hands and a knack around the basket.

Monroe isn't particularly athletic and gets turned away at the rim quite a bit, plus he tends to bring the ball back into defenders when he goes up. That said, he got himself more than seven shots a game in the basket area, and if you do that it's easy to be a high-percentage player. It's away from the basket where he can still improve; Monroe shot a lot of short hooks but made only 39.3 percent from 3 to 9 feet, and shot just 35.7 percent from 10 feet and beyond.

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.

His biggest drawback is defense, where he's not physical, is occasionally sluggish, and doesn't block shots. Only seven centers blocked fewer shots per minute, although his length did lead to a high rate of steals. He didn't look great in one-on-one defense, but in help situations he was infinitely worse -- either late arriving or MIA entirely. Opposing centers had a 19.3 player efficiency rating against him, according to 82games.com, and the Pistons gave up 9.4 points per 100 possessions more with him on the court. That's simply unacceptable, and will have to improve dramatically for him to achieve stardom.


RESERVES

JONAS JEREBKO, F

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

15.1
8.6
1.2
14.6

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ High-energy combo forward who can run floor and moves well without ball.
+ Solid defender with good size, may have lost some athleticism.
+ Mediocre outside shooter with few ball skills. Needs to improve handle.

Analysis
It was a pretty amazing comeback for Jerebko, who returned after missing the entire 2010-11 season with a torn Achilles and put up nearly identical numbers to his rookie season. The similarity is scary -- nearly all his metrics were within a few percentage points of each other.

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. Despite looking a bit less athletic than before the injury, Jerebko still can outrun most opponents at the 4 -- his likely long-term position -- and get clean looks on the perimeter. Additionally, his constant movement without the ball gets him plenty of easy layups.

Defensively, he wasn't great; I'd argue this is where the injury was more noticeable, as he struggled to contain active 4s. Opposing power forwards had a 17.2 PER against him, according to 82games.com, and his help defense was inconsistent. He hadn't played in a year and didn't have a ton of experience to start, so he should get better.

ANDRE DRUMMOND, C

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Did not play 500 NBA minutes last season | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Long athletic center with NBA body and athleticism. Not a bad shooter.
+ Terrible from free throw line. Inconsistent and doesn't always play hard.

Analysis
Drummond is potentially an All-Star center, and the fact he was the second-youngest player in the draft indicates he may be undervalued. He's 7-0, 280 pounds at the age of 18, so he's going to be an enormous presence in the paint. In fact, the risk is on the other side -- that he'll become too big and struggle with injuries and conditioning. Controlling his weight will need to be a major focus as he gets into his 20s.

Drummond also has to develop his skills considerably, with that fact underscored by his abysmal 29.5 percent free throw shooting. His rebounding was also surprisingly tame for a player of his size and athleticism, and his low-post game needs considerable work. His focus is also a question; he's not a bad kid, but nobody's sure how much passion he has for the game. For now, he projects as a DeAndre Jordan clone, but given how young he is there is a fairly enormous upside.

CHARLIE VILLANUEVA, PF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Did not play 500 NBA minutes last season | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Jump-shooting combo forward who can play over top of most defenses.
+ Among league's worst defensive players. Lazy, lead-footed and a tweener.
+ Mediocre athlete. Poor shot selection. Can post up on switches. Solid rebounder.

Analysis
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. Despite his big contract, Villanueva played only bits and pieces of 13 games last season and doesn't appear to be in the team's plans. The only remaining question is whether the Pistons use him in a trade or use their amnesty provision to release him next summer.

WILL BYNUM, PG

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

15.7
3.7
5.4
10.7

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Small, powerfully built score-first guard with explosive leaping ability.
+ Not a great outside shooter or distributor. Good burst but gets out of control.
+ Major defensive liability due to lack of size. Tends to gamble and foul.

Analysis
Bynum missed half the season with a foot injury and probably wishes he missed the other half too, as his production took a dramatic turn for the worse. As a short guard dependent on quick bursts, the worry is that he lost a step and at 29 might not be able to get it back.

Look more closely, however, and his jumper appears to be the biggest culprit. Bynum hit only 26.2 percent of his shots outside the basket area, an impossibly bad mark that is almost certainly a small-sample fluke.

More worrisome is the sharp decline in his assist rate. 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.

Defensively, he's still a liability, sporting the third-highest foul rate at his position while, according to 82games.com, opposing point guards posted a 16.5 player efficiency rating against him. That makes it even harder to justify playing him when the shots aren't falling; between that, the lack of passing and the subpar defense, he really brought no positives to the court in his limited minutes last season. He's better than that, but it's fair to ask if it's enough better to belong in a rotation.

COREY MAGGETTE, SF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

19.9
5.8
1.8
13.3

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Foul-magnet forward with strong first step to right. Has lost explosiveness.
+ Mediocre outside shooter. Has rep as selfish. Rarely passes. Injury prone.
+ Poor defensive player. Strong but doesn't play hard or move well laterally.

Analysis
The Bobcats got Maggette to do Maggette things, and did he ever. Miss 34 games with injuries? Check. Shoot every time he got it? Check. Draw a bajillion fouls? Check. Mail it in on defense? Check.

The hope was that Maggette's shot creation and foul-drawing skills would offset those other negatives, but he's lost a step and doesn't explode to the basket as easily. Maggette shot only 37.3 percent and his free throw rate, while still phenomenal (it led all small forwards), pales next to the ridiculous heights of his prime. As a result, his true shooting percentage was slightly under the league average rather than in the high 50s or low 60s, and at that level he doesn't have much use as a player.

Maggette's midrange game also deserted him, as he made only 26.3 percent of his 2s beyond 15 feet. That number will likely rebound some, but I'm not sure it matters in the big picture. He had the third-worst pure point rating at his position, again indicative of his tunnel vision offensively, and defensively he remains subpar.

If 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. I'm not sure what the Pistons do with him besides wait for his contract to expire.

AUSTIN DAYE, SF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

13.3
6.6
2.1
8.9

Stats are per 40 minutes | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Tall, thin combo forward with accurate long-range jump shot. B athlete.
+ Has increased activity defensively, but struggles on boards. Can't get to rim.
+ Good shot-blocker. Solid rebounder. Lacks great handle. Doesn't draw fouls.

Analysis
That stampede you heard was the remaining passengers getting off the Daye bandwagon. A jump-shooting forward who couldn't make jump shots, Daye offered little at either end to offset his wayward shooting.

And wayward it was: He made 21.0 percent of his 3s and 27.4 percent of his 2s beyond 10 feet, which for an alleged shooter is a bit of a problem. Daye had the worst 2-point shooting percentage of any power forward at an abysmal 36.4 percent, and the worst overall shooting percentage at 32.2 percent. Did I mention he didn't draw fouls either? That left Daye also the worst at his position in true shooting percentage and player efficiency rating.

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. Unfortunately, his offense made him completely unplayable, and unless his shot recovers his career is in jeopardy.

TERRENCE WILLIAMS, SF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

15.6
7.6
4.9
13.1

(Stats are per 40 minutes) | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Athletic wing who can create shots for others. Sees floor well, but turnover-prone.
+ Outstanding rebounder for size. Decent defender. Flaky personality an issue.
+ Terrible shooter who struggles with jumper, finishing and free throws.

Analysis
The interesting part of Williams' season was that he actually shot fairly well from outside. He made 34.6 percent of his 3s and 43.6 percent of his long 2s, which is perfectly respectable. His problem, instead, was that he only converted 47.2 percent of his shots inside 10 feet.

Combined with a low free throw rate, Williams again had an abysmal TS% -- though not as bad as in previous seasons -- and it offset some real benefits. Williams is an amazing rebounder for his size, especially defensively, and he's a good passer. He's still too turnover-prone, but he can be a point-forward type if he improves as a finisher and makes better decisions.

Alas, he's already 25 and time's a wasting. He should be a good defensive player but his effort has been up and down -- he didn't draw a single offensive foul last season, for instanced -- and he's a bit undersized for a 3. If he shoots as well as he did last season he's a rotation payer, but there's a healthy doubt about the sustainability of those numbers.

KYLE SINGLER, F

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Did not play 500 NBA minutes last season | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Tall wing with long arms and good handle. Rebounds well for a wing player.
+ Has rep as a good shooter but didn't shoot well in college. Struggles to finish.
+ B athlete who lacks lateral quickness and strength. May struggle on defense.

Analysis

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.

Despite his rep, his shooting skills are still suspect, too -- Singler shot 32.1 percent on 3s in his final season at Duke and never got into the 40s in his career. He shot 80 percent from the line over his final two seasons but was only in the mid-70s in Spain, and didn't score at a particularly high rate in either locale.

Singler rebounds well for a perimeter player and his passing and ball skills may prove helpful in a Mike Dunleavy kind of way. But he's not as athletic or as skillful with the ball as Dunleavy, and appears to be a worse shooter too.

KIM ENGLISH, SG

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Did not play 500 NBA minutes last season | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Deadly outside shooter with good size for a wing. Struggles to create own shot.
+ Must add strength and round out other facets of game. Poor foul shooter.

Analysis
English is ancient for a rookie -- he turns 24 in September -- and his 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.

Obviously one can't take that performance at face value, but one point in his favor is that English wowed observers with his shooting in workouts. An equally large concern is the other stuff -- he's not a great athlete and he's going to struggle to defend his position; heck he's not even a good foul shooter (between 72 and 73 percent all four years at Missouri). He may be able to scrape out a living as a catch-and-shoot specialist from the weak side, but that's about where the upside ends.

KHRIS MIDDLETON, SF

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Did not play 500 NBA minutes last season | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Long-armed, slender wing with good midrange game; gets shot away easily.
+ Poor long-range shooter. Good court vision. Gets lots of steals.

Analysis
Middleton had the second-lowest free throw rate of any draft prospect and shot 26.0 percent on 3s, but an injury-plagued 2011-12 skewed those numbers downward from the previous season.

A season earlier he hit a more respectable 36.1 percent from downtown and drew fouls with much greater frequency, at least indicating some potential for him to be a decent offensive player at the pro level. He also had a very high steals rate for a player of his size. Nonetheless, he's a B prospect at best and may need to earn his living overseas for a while. 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.

SLAVA KRAVTSOV, C

Hollinger's 2012-13 Projections

PTS
REB
AST
PER

N/A
N/A
N/A
N/A

Did not play 500 NBA minutes last season | Hollinger player card

Scouting report
+ Big, long-armed center who can rebound, block shots and draw fouls.
+ Questionable motor and feel. Can run floor. Not a shooter. Foul prone.

Analysis
Kravstov is the mystery meat of this year's free-agent class, a 25-year-old Ukrainian who didn't play in a high-level league last season but put up some very solid numbers. 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. If he can match up against physical centers, use some fouls and not kill the Pistons on offense, he'll be worth the low-budget price.


Sharp Shooter
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Why does Hollinger have

Why does Hollinger have Terrance Williams on this roster and he hasn't made the the team....yet.

Lipstick
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Ah, so you'll be 17. That

Ah, so you'll be 17. That definitely explains copy-pasting of Hollinger's work.

TomShoe
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True

Yeah, I do copy paste, but unless you want to shell out for insider, I'd recommend that you hold thy tounge.

Why bite the hand that gives you free insider?

diddlebunk
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Totally! what the trucks?!

Totally! what the trucks?!

yo, let me offer a hearty, deeply felt thanks to TomShoe for offering this stuff. you win my Nicest Guy on the Internet Award for 2012. for realz.

too cool for words, this guy. love ya, man!

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