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Friday November 14, 2008 3:56 pm

Fantasy 30 Team Review: Detroit Pistons

Allen Iverson Detroit Pistons

The Detroit Pistons ranked number four in our inaugural Fantasy 30. It has been about a week since Allen Iverson played his first game with his new team. Has there been enough evidence to see how things will shake down from the fantasy perspective? Let us take a closer look at the fantasy landscape with the “new” Detroit Pistons.

Fantasy Breakdown

Backcourt:

Allen Iverson: Here are Iverson’s numbers from last year compared to his brief stint with the Pistons so far.

DEN ’07-’08 GP 82 – 26.4 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 7.2 apg, 2.0 spg, 0.2 bpg, 1.2 threes, 3.0 topg, 45.8 FG%, 80.9 FT%
DET ’08-’09 GP 4 – 21.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 7.0 apg, 1.5 spg, 0.3 bpg, 1.5 threes, 3.5 topg, 41.5 FG%, 81.8 FT%

Iverson’s scoring has dropped and it is not due to a lack of shots. He has taken an average 16.3 shots/game as a Piston compared to 19 shots/game last year in Denver. Iverson’s field goal percentage has thinned out since leaving the higher altitude of Denver. The last time his field goal percentage was in the lower 40’s was his last season in Philly (‘06-‘07, 41.3 FG%).  It is nice to see that his assists and steals are still steady at seven and two per contest respectively. It is too bad Iverson’s butter finger ways were not left behind in Denver as exhibited by his 3+ turnovers/game. 

Richard Hamilton: It seems like Rip and AI can co-exist together in the Pistons backcourt. Take away his 3-point effort against Boston, and Hamilton has averaged 21 points with Iverson on the team. Hamilton’s underrated contributions are still evident with averages of four rebounds and assists per game. One needs to take note that his once solid field goal percentage has plummeted to 38.0% this year (compared to 48.5% last year). Hopefully he can straighten his shot as the season goes on.

Rodney Stuckey: Pre-season buzz calling for a potential breakout season could be a year premature. It appears that Stuckey will continue to come off the bench this season and may get a crack at the starting lineup next year after Iverson’s contract comes off the books. Stuckey’s fantasy contributions are modest in points and assists. His game lacks the three ball and swipes that fantasy owners covet from their guards. There has been speculation that Stuckey could be in the backcourt with Iverson, meaning Hamilton slides to the three spot when the Pistons employ a smaller, quicker lineup. It remains to be seen whether the presence of Iverson will improve Stuckey’s numbers enough to warrant a spot in your starting fantasy lineup. Rodney Stuckey remains an excellent player for those in keeper leagues. 

Front Court:

Tayshaun Prince: Tayshaun Prince has been putting up kingly numbers this year! New coach Michael Curry vowed that Tayshaun Prince would be an all-star this year; however, fantasy owners probably did not expect that it would mean 17.6 points and 8.8 boards per game. Tayshaun is not taking more shots on offense; he is still averaging about 12 shots a game. The two factors that have contributed to the increase in scoring are 1) he is more effective from beyond the arc and 2) taking more foul shots. After eight games, Prince is shooting 61.1% from beyond the arc and has made 1.4 threes per game. In that same time span, Prince has also averaged 5.1 trips to the line compared to 2.9 free throw attempts last year. Also, surprise, surpise, Tayshaun has cleaned the glass this year to the tune of 8.8 boards per contest, highlighted by his 16 rebound effort against Golden State earlier this week. Last year, Prince averaged 4.9 rebounds a game. Can Tayshaun keep up this pace for the whole season?

Rasheed Wallace: Rasheed Wallace’s sixth season with the Pistons will most likely be his last. Rasheed is in the final year of his contract and it seems unlikely that the Pistons will re-sign him. Fantasy owners have grown accustomed to Rasheed’s stat-stuffing ways from the five spot. ‘Sheed helps fantasy teams with points and rebounds sprinkled in with some threes, steals and blocks. A constant worry for ‘Sheed owners is his sub-par field goal percentage, which remains in the lower 40’s due in some part to his propensity to jack up shots from beyond the arc. 

Amir Johnson, Jason Maxiell and Kwame Brown: These three Detroit bigs are grouped together because their minutes and production are currently too inconsistent to warrant a fantasy roster spot on your team. It has been speculated that the recently waived Antonio McDyess will most likely re-sign with the Pistons. Obviously Dice’s return would have an impact on playing time for the other big men on the roster. Amir Johnson should have some consideration for those who are in keeper leagues. Like Rodney Stuckey, Amir Johnson’s breakout season could be in the next season or two.

As you can see that the Detroit Pistons have many viable fantasy options and are worthy of their high ranking in the Fantasy 30.

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