Detroit: Stuckey or Bynum – who should start?

Internet…huh…beautiful thing…everybody can make themselves heard/read – so when somebody writes a certain player is underrated and should start on a certain team it spreads like wildfire. People don’t even check if it’s true. It is way easier to just copy what sounds good and don’t put time into researching the facts.

So, lately everybody and their mommas is trying to tell you that Will Bynum should start over Rodney Stuckey for the Detroit Pistons. Sure, looking at some of the stats it seems to be a neat idea:

  • Bynum’s true shooting percentage is at .588 this season (.132 better than Stuckey who is averaging a career low .456 TS% so far)
  • Bynum’s effective field goal percentage is at .518 (Stuckey is at .391 eFG%)
  • Will’s Player Efficiency Rating is at 20.0 which is pretty awesome (Rodney is at 13.8 – the league average is 15.0 in case you aren’t familiar with this stat)
  • Bynum is scoring more around the rim while Stuckey is taking jumpers on 71% of his attempts – Bynum is scoring a higher % on both by the way

Will Bynum #12

So, Bynum is a more efficent scorer – how about passing?

  • Will ‘The Thrill’ is dishing out the assist on 27.1% of the made shots of his teammates when he is on the floor (Rodney is at 19%)
  • Bynum’s passing rating is at 8.9 while Stuckey is at 6.4

Hmmm…team offense & team defense?

  • Bynum’s offensive rating is at 113 (ORtg = points produced/scored on 100 possessions ) – Stuckey’s is at 97
  • Bynum’s offensive rating is at 108 (ORtg = points produced/scored on 100 possessions ) – Stuckey’s is at 107 – no big difference

Well, those stats suggest that Bynum would help the Pistons win more games than Stuckey. Are there other stats? Of course they are. Let’s see what Rodney has going for himself stats-wise:

  • The Pistons got outscored by 33 points while Bynum was on the floor while only getting outscored by 8 while Stuckey was on the floor (this season so far) – both are usually playing at the end of the game, but you should consider that Rodney is starting the game and playing against tougher competition in the opening quarter than Bynum
  • Bynum is finishing games with a +/- rating at an average of -4.8, Stuckey is averaging a -0.7
  • Only 15% of Bynum’s shots are assisted while Stuckey is getting assisted on 32% of his made field goals – read on if you want to know why this is important
  • Stuckey is the better ballhandler (he has more turnovers and bad passes, but considering the minutes played he is a bit better than Bynum)

Rodney Stuckey #3

Is there something to consider when looking at these stats?

  • Stuckey is playing pretty many minutes out of position. People tend to forget that a lot. Could it be that his stats aren’t as good, because he is spending a good amount of time at shooting guard and/or small forward? Would the numbers be different if Stuckey would play PG all the time instead of switching it up and playing out of position? Without a doubt.

Here are Stuckey’s stats at the different positions:

  • Point Guard: Net Points of the team +16
  • Shooting Guard: Net Points of the team -36
  • Small Forward: Net Points of the team +9

So, if we woant to find out who should start at point guard we should compare the stats they get when they play that position, right? Player 48-Minute Production by Position:

  • eFG% (Effective Field Goal Percentage): Bynum .518 – Stuckey .538
  • FTA (Free Throw Attempts): Bynum 7.7 – Stuckey 15.0
  • Assists (don’t forget: by 48 minutes): Bynum 7.0 – Stuckey 10.0
  • Points: Bynum 24.9 – Stuckey 34.9
  • PER*: Bynum 21.8 – Stuckey 42.0

Looks a bit different, right? What about the defense? Opponent Counterpart 48-Minute Production:

  • PER*-“allowed”: Bynum 16.2 – Stuckey 7.6
  • Points-allowed: Bynum 19.0 – Stuckey 13.3

What I’m trying to show you is that stats can be deceiving. Making this choice is not as easy as “who has better stats”, it is more about what kind of team are we trying to be, what are our long-term goals and what way do we play our best? Stuckey is starting at point guard and Bynum is pretty much taking over the point guard position in the 2nd half. Why?

Because Stuckey is pretty good at point guard, but we need him playing some shooting guard and small forward as well right now. Could Bynum guard shooting guards? No way. If they are both hot, can we afford to put Ben Gordon on the bench? No. We try to do what works best and it really doesn’t matter at all who starts the game at point guard, because our most productive line-up (as a team, not for every individual on the court) is this one so far:

Bynum – Gordon – Stuckey – Villanueva – Wallace -> Top Five Men Floor-Units Win% = 77%

Would Stuckey put up better individual numbers if he was playing point guard? Probably, but it wouldn’t be the best for the team. When Prince and Rip are back it will get even more complicated. What if our best line-up is Stuckey – Gordon – Hamilton – Prince – Villanueva? Well, then Bynum will have to sit and watch. What if Bynum is better suited to get the job done with those guys on the floor? Well, Stuckey is going to sit and watch.

The few things you should remember from this post are:

  • Stuckey is playing out of position for long stretches of the game
  • Stats are deceiving and don’t measure everything happening on the floor
  • Bynum is more effective comparing the stats without paying attention to the position played
  • Stuckey is more effective comparing the stats they accumulate while playing point guard
  • We are trying to build a contender here and most of our players are doing whatever helps the team the most – no big egos

To sum it all up: Looking at the position-based stats, Stuckey is a better point guard, but we need him to play out of position for long stretches of most games. His stats change accordingly. Bynum is a great point guard and a very efficient scorer. There is no point in arguing one way or another, because with the return of Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince the whole dynamic of the team will change anyway. In my opinion, Stuckey should keep starting the games, because it is giving the team more options to run the offense and it opens up more options on defense too (Stuckey can guard big guards and some small forwards). Bynum is the perfect energizer of the bench and when both Stuckey and Bynum are on the court, Bynum is usually playing point guard. I wouldn’t change that, but what do I know…

Detroit Pistons Guards

BTW: To look up some of the stats yourself, go to www.basketball-reference.com or www.82games.com – have fun. 🙂 For more opinions on this, go here or here.

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Detroit: Stuckey or Bynum – who should start?”

  1. Great post — I agree, I think Stuckey should be the starter too. I think the rest of the Pistons players play better when Stuckey is at the point than they do with Bynum there.

    When Bynum plays you have to play off of him. Off his scoring, penetrating and passing. With Stuckey the rest of the Pistons play their games. He puts them in positions where they’re comfortable and can succeed.

    In other words, I think you get more out of the other players with Stuckey at the point than you do with Bynum.

    ** On a final note, I’m very disappointed in Stuckey’s continued troubles with his scoring efficiency. It’s holding his own career + Pistons back in a huge way. He needs to shoot more shots at the rim, shoot a better percentage on close shots (constantly surprised that Stuckey is such a poor finisher around the rim given his size), and draw more fouls. He doesn’t make good enough use of his ability to beat his man and get to the rim + his physical attributes. Also, less jump shots, it’s not a strength, stay away from it as much as possible.

    ** Oh, one other thing, after checking out 82games to see those numbers … I wouldn’t put too much stock into 82games position data in this specific instance. They have Stuckey only playing 5% of his total minutes (28 minutes out of his 570 minutes) at the point guard spot. They’re ruling Ben Gordon the point when he and Stuckey are on the floor together. Then information isn’t accurate.

  2. Thanks for pointing out the messed up data I put in from 82games.com. That’s why stats are deceiving, I guess. 😀

    Let’s hope the Pistons can turn it around soon. Even if we should lose more games than last year, it’s way more fun to watch the games without all the drama from last season.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: