This off-season the Detroit Pistons acted like a frivolous blackjack player who insists on staying on 14. The team finished last season 27-55 yet they return largely the same roster as last season. Good luck selling that to the Motor City faithful.
Nevertheless, and to my surprise, I calculated them winning about 5 more games this season. Looking at my list, the improvements I project come from Jonas Jerebko, Austin Daye, Ben Gordon, and Tracy McGrady.
Jerebko and Daye are projected to improve based upon their production after the All-Star game last season. Daye was especially improved, but Jerebko was impressive enough throughout the season that I gave him a similar bump to Daye’s.
I reluctantly projected a slight improvement from Ben Gordon. Gordon is hard to figure. In the three seasons of data I have, he was awful twice and average once. But he was average during the season he was playing for a contract. Did that motivate him to play better? Is he truly the player he has been in the non-contract seasons? Or is his erratic play merely the result of the natural inconsistency of jump shooters? I could not decide, so I split the difference and gave him a slight bump.
As for Tracy McGrady, I gave him the benefit of the doubt and decided his awful play with the Knicks was a result of playing in the Knicks system and that his play this season will return to somewhere slightly above average. However, I have no faith in his knees so his minutes I limited.
As for others, I’m guessing Greg Monroe won’t be all that good, based on the fact that he wasn’t all that good in college. I’m reluctantly projecting Tayshaun Prince will have an okay season, although the tires could fall off at any minute. Ben Wallace will do some Ben Wallace work, but I think he could lose some minutes to Monroe. The rest of the roster stinks.
Here are the numbers I project: