This is Part II of a 3 Part series on the Pistons @ Midseason of the 2007/8 Season. Part I can be found here. Forty-seven games. 34 and 13. Its hard to argue with that record. This season has been an emotional rollercoaster for fans as the spectre of last season’s early exit still haunts most fans and their patience is short when it comes to the promised changes Dumars proclaimed. Instead of rattling off some random observations or some one sided tirade about how we’re sinking despite all that winning, I tried to gather some cold, hard facts. Sure, stats don’t tell the whole story; they may not even tell the most accurate story but I wanted to present something rooted in objectivity. Solid or Stagnant? The Pistons starting five is ranked the 2nd most efficient combination by lenovo stats. They also logged the 2nd most minutes as a unit behind the New Orleans. The Pistons main core of Billups, Hamilton, Prince, Wallace and McDyess has been durable and mostly injury free. The +/- drop off when Maxiell enters for either McDyess or Wallace is substantial dropping from 171 to 34. However, Arron Afflalo plays as part of the statistically most effective units next to the main starting five when you take into account that nothing is nearly as productive as the core. Other teams sporting highly effective units with big time minutes are New Orleans and unsurprisingly; Boston. Speaking of drop offs, the Celtics have an all too similar drop off going from 213 to 31 once they start rotating in other players. Like to think that Boston has no bench? Statistically speaking, it’s not like we have some highly effective but under utilized combination. Coming in fourth as of this writing is Utah. San Antonio has dealt with an injured Ginobli and seems to be rotating its centers evenly. Dallas has also been dealing with a stream of injuries to Dampier and Jones. Rip Hamilton has clocked in 1482 minutes at a 35.3 per game. That puts him on par with Ricky Davis and Ben Gordon and surprisingly, Kevin Garnett. Next is Billups at 1429 (34 mpg) and Prince at 1486 (33.8 mpg). McDyess and Wallace get in about 31 minutes per game. Maxiell, our “6th Man” clocks in 22.8 minutes per game. For comparison, Deron Williams averages 36.8 minutes per game, Yao Ming 37.3, Steve Nash 34.1 and Ben Wallace 32.4. It doesn’t matter what your name is! Before the season started, the Pistons traded Carlos Delfino to the Toronto Raptors for two 2nd round picks. Many speculated that Grant Hill would make a return or that it would open a spot for budding Amir Johnson. Hill never played a minute for Detroit and Amir wasn’t far behind. Enter Jarvis Hayes. Hayes was touted as a more efficient scorer – that missing punch off the bench. Hayes has lived up to those expectations…by 0.7 %. He is chipping in 1.4 pts more per game as well. He’s getting roughly the same minutes Delfino had last year at 16.6. All that scoring for -0.7 rebounds and -0.4 steals. If we take a look at Maurice Evans’ tenure as the backup at 3, it becomes apparent that whomever you stick there, you’re going to get 15 minutes, 5 pts and 3 rebounds. Any bets on what Walter Hermann would average if he signed on as Tay’s backup? My money is on 6 pts, 3 rebounds in 16.5 minutes. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Number 2 pick…presto! With Darko finally proving some supporters fwrong (or is it that he STILL hasn’t found the right situation?) we can concentrate on our consolation prize: Rodney Stuckey. The buzz around the new kid was electric as he tore up summer league. A broken hand slowed his development and the rookie has struggled mightily as of late. Looking at other guards around the league, Durant is doing his number 2 overall thing in Seattle. Conley has made Stoudamire cry uncle in Memphis by making the starting lineup. Aside from that, Stuckey compares equally with Acie Law with both players shooting like the rest of us at the local YMCA. Law and Stuckey’s averages are nearly identical but Law plays behind Anthony Johnson and Speedy Claxton and started briefly before finding himself coming off the bench. Nick Young is getting roughly the same burn but on a team that’s suffered some major injuries to Arenas and to his backup Daniels. So before we give up on the young fella, we should realize that there will be growing pains for any player. Now is the Winter of Our Discontent …made glorious summer by this recent playing time for Amir Johnson. It wasn’t a Pistonsforum phenomenon. It was a Pistons Nation one. Dumars said no more DNP-CD’s but a bum ankle allowed a loophole in the youth movement. Fans cried foul. Amir Johnson sat idle or rounded out blowouts. When he did play, he looked every bit the inexperienced, yet talented youngster that he was. He’s been mistake prone and productive at the same time which is, looking across the league, par for the course. Andray Blatche, the Wizards long term project shares a lot of similarities with Johnson. Both have size and great athleticism. Both have multi-positional skills. Both were selected late as preps to pros projects. Compared to Amir, Andray is clocking more than double the minutes and more than double the points. Would AJ average 7 pts and 5 rebounds if he got 18 minutes? Who can say. Would Andray get 18 minutes in Detroit? Only if he’s visiting with the Wizards. While this doesn’t come close to the fine statistical based analysis that dba offers up, one could make the case that, based on the numbers, we’re right where we should be. Sure we’d like to have more success but our starters are playing generally less than other starters and our rookies are performing at about the same level as other rookies. Hopefully the youth trend will continue and expand as the season wears on.