A sprocket Tale: Pistons versus Bucks the stat sprocket Keys to the Series For the Pistons, play your game and nothing else will really matter. Otherwise… One in four points scored by the Bucks comes off the hand of Michael Redd. With Bobby Simmons comes another 12%, combining for 38% of the Bucks’ scoring. Knock either off their game a bit and the Bucks will struggle to put up enough points to win. Go at Simmons with Prince. He can be foul prone and will take himself out of the game given half a chance. Keep their energy guys (Gadzuric and Smith) off the offensive boards. Both are also foul prone and can be controlled by good defensive rebounding fundamentals. I.e., box out or watch them give the Bucks second chance after second chance. Go to the hole. The Bucks have no one able to alter shots in the paint. JMax blocks as many shots on a per minute basis as Bogut. Keep their bench under control. The Bucks have depth and experience on the pine. For the Bucks, priority one has to have something to do with a trip to New Orleans and an old woman with a chicken. Good old fashioned hexing may be their only chance. Otherwise… Start with game with energy. The Pistons have shown a tendency to start slowly. They seem to like to get a feel for what the other team is doing before deciding to do something about it. At least in the regular season. Good luck in the playoffs. Exploit the hot hand. If anyone gets it going from behind the line, let them shoot until their arms fall off. The Pistons can forget to close out on the three point shooter, especially early in the shot clock. The Bucks can’t give up any second chance points. If the Wallaces and McDyess get it going on the offensive boards things will get ugly quickly. Keep them off and no one else will step up and stick their nose in unless Evans and Delfino get some playing time. Go right at Rasheed Wallace early and hope the fouls mount up before he starts getting even. Team Statistics By most statistical measures the Pistons are far and away the superior team, pretty much as expected for a one versus eighth seed matchup. The Pistons average 136 sprocket points* per game versus 116 for the Bucks, a 17% advantage. The Pistons outscore their opponents by 6.6 points per game (+7.3%) while the Bucks average a point less than their opponents (-1.0%). The Pistons average 11.4% more assists per game with an assist to turnover ratio of 2.1 versus 1.5 for the Bucks. Shooting and rebounding are more or less a wash. The Pistons are up nearly two to one in blocked shots, but the Bucks create steals at a slightly higher rate. The Bucks foul more and foul out more often. *sprocket points are a weighted composite of two pointers, three pointers, and free throws made and missed, rebounds, assists, steals, turnovers, blocks, personal fouls, and technical fouls. Players When one team has the best starting five in the league you expect to see position by position dominance, and the numbers easily bear this out. For the Pistons, Billups and Ben Wallace vie for the title of the team’s most productive player. Combined they account for 40% of the team’s total productivity measured by sprocket points. Milwaukee’s starting guards, their most productive players, account for 32% of team productivity. The Pistons top five players account for 81% of team productivity. Milwaukee’s bench must be productive in order for them to win as the top five account for only 68% of team productivity. Per ten minutes played, Gadzuric, Smith, Williams, Kukoc, and Bell are all very productive players, matching the output of McDyess, Hamilton, Delk, Prince, and Hunter for the Pistons. Offense Detroit and Milwaukee source their points from more or less the same kinds of shots. Detroit relies a bit more on the three ball and Milwaukee both shoots a bit better from the free throw line and produces a slightly higher percentage of points from there. Shooting percentages are virtually identical. On a player by player basis… The Pistons have three players, Billups, Hamilton, and Delk who shoot the three better than Redd. Simmons and Bell for Milwaukee shoot a better percentage from three than Redd. The Bucks score well from the bench with Williams, Smith, Gadzuric, and Bell averaging nearly four or more points per ten minutes played. From the Pistons bench, only Delk averages more than four per ten minutes of game time. Prince and McDyess are at and below four points per ten minutes respectively. Bogut, Magloire, Gadzuric, and Smith are all good offensive rebounders, matching the relative rates of Ben Wallace, McDyess, and Davis for Detroit. Redd is the best scorer per minute played in the series, nearly a point per ten minutes played better than Hamilton. Billups dominates the point guard matchup with an assist to turnover ratio of over four to one. Milwaukee’s two point guards match up fairly well with Hunter, with Bell taking better care of the ball than the starter Ford. Defense Defense is of course very difficult to measure with the commonly kept statistics of defensive rebounds, steals, and blocks. However, combining these stats and penalizing players for fouls committed does provide at least a basis to measure general defensive prowess. Detroit relies heavily, perhaps unhealthily so, on Ben Wallace to provide key defensive stats. Combined, the two Wallaces and Prince account for 77% of Detroit’s defensive production. McDyess matches Prince on a ten minutes played basis suggesting that at least two of the four need to be in the game anytime the outcome is uncertain. Milwaukee’s big men, Bogut and Magloire, combine for a bit more of team defensive productivity than Ben Wallace alone accounts for with Detroit. The Bucks rely much more on their starting guards to provide defensive rebounding and steals than do the Pistons.