An exercise in cruelty: The Detroit Pistons

While I was busy moping about a win with a great performance last night, Ben Gulker (@brgulker) was kind enough to point out it could be worse. I could be a Detroit Pistons fan. Last night Greg Monroe went out and did something he does often: he played a great game. The Pistons did something they don’t do often: they won. Of course their opponent was the Charlotte Bobcats and losing has come as naturally to the Bobcats as winning once did to their owner.

I know hindsight is 20/20. I know the draft, despite all of the current flaws in talent evaluation, is still tricky. I know that constructing the proper team just from picks is difficult. (Of course Oklahoma City and San Antonio may beg to differ.) But looking at the terrible roster of the once great Piston franchise I couldn’t help but wonder, what if things were a little different? I decided to play a game called “What if they’d drafted right?” It’s a cruel game for any team but it’s also a bit of fun. Had the Pistons used the picks they had in the last three years draft a bit more effectively here’s what their lineup could be this year:

Fantasy Pistons team for 2012. Numbers through February 29th 2012
Player Cost Pos G MP WP48 WP
Ty Lawson  $1.6 1.0 31 1057.3 0.157 3.46
Landry Fields  $0.8 2.3 36 1143.0 0.197 4.69
Chase Budinger  $0.9 3.0 31 596.0 0.178 2.21
Kenneth Faried  $1.3 4.0 16 272.2 0.350 1.98
Greg Monroe  $3.0 5.0 37 1212.3 0.181 4.57
 Total  $7.6 4280.8 0.190 16.91 

So for the cost of Charlie Villanueva or Rodney Stuckey the Pistons could have had an incredibly fierce starting five. Again this exercise is more for fun than anything. That said, the Pistons did make some remarkably bad draft choices. That, coupled with some bad signings, have made all the difference in the outcome to Detroit. The good news is that maybe if the Pistons make smarter moves in the next few drafts things will turn around. If not, at least I’ll get to yet again play the fun game of perfect hindsight.


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