An Advanced Stat Crammed, Analytic, and In-Depth Evaluation of The Rudy Gay Trade’s Impact on the Pistons


Why should you be excited for Jose Calderon? Read this.

I’ve already written my rapid reactions to the 3 way deal that sends out Prince and Daye, and brings in Jose Calderon. To be honest, I didn’t feel like I gave it the amount of justice I could. Not that I think I wrote awful pieces, but because I love to consume statistics. I didn’t throw out too many stats in either of writing, and that is quite frankly not like me. So buckle up, because here comes a hurricane of statistical analysis on how Detroit could look going forward.

Part 1: The Addition of Jose Calderon. Jose is going to be a great fit in Detroit as long as he wants to be here. Hopefully he soon gets over the disappointment of leaving the only NBA team he has ever known. On the floor some of the Pistons issues have been shooting efficiently and turning the ball over. On the shooting end of the spectrum, Calderon has been efficient his whole career. He is one of six members of the 40-50-90 (FG%-3Pt%-FT%) club along with Steve Nash, Dirk Nowitzki, Reggie Miller, Mark Price, and Larry Bird. Calderon even was 0.03% of FG% from being in the club twice, which would put him with only Bird and Nash as members who have done it more than once. Now that is not saying Calderon is as good as any of those players overall, but in terms of efficiently putting the ball in the hoop he is one of the best. Calderon is also shooting 42.9% from deep, which will make him a better floor spacer for the big men than Bynum or Knight was. Calderon is 17th in TS% (59.4%) and 8th in eFG% (56.9%).  For those not familiar to True Shooting Percentage and Effective Field Goal Percentage, those statistical category are dominated by big men. Calderon ranks 1st out of all Point Guards in both statistics of these statistics. According to Synergy, Will Bynum is just as effective as Calderon as a pick and roll ball handler, both posting a 0.84 Point Per Possession mark. Calderon, however, could make use of Greg Monroe’s passing out of the post in a way that Knight and Bynum can’t. Calderon is 5th in the league in spot up shooting with a total of 1.34 PPP. Look for Monroe to pass out of the post to hit a wide open Calderon for 3.

In terms of being a pure point guard Jose has the tools there too. He ranks 4th in Assist Percentage (43.6%), 4th in Assist Ratio (40.2), and 8th in Assists per Game (7.4). Calderon is also a much better care taker of the ball, his Turnovers per 36 is at 2.1. This is a much better mark than Will Bynum (3.3) and Brandon Knight (3.4).  As an overall player Calderon posts a PER of 19.3 which is considered well above average play. Compared to the players in the point guard spot for Detroit, he is well ahead as Knight and Bynum posted a 12.9 and a 15.4 respectively. Calderon has a reputation for poor defense, but his 112 Defensive Rating isn’t well off of the Pistons Point Guards (both posted 110). Defensive Win Shares is a much more regarded (but still not perfect) defensive stat, and Calderon isn’t too far off there either. Knight has posted .022 Defensive Win Shares/48 Minutes, Calderon has the lowest with .011, and Bynum is the best with a .023.  Point is, even if Calderon is slightly worse, he isn’t replacing defensive stoppers either. If we go to the overall Win Shares/48 (which includes offense and defense), Calderon destroys Knight and Bynum. His mark is a .158, which is a significant jump from the .069 of Bynum and 0.46 of Knight.

There is one more thing that I noticed when I watch the tape of these guys, and decided to do the research on.

This is Jose Calderon from mid range:

This is Brandon Knight (top) and Will Bynum (bottom):

Just for reference, let’s see the players who have played the wing spots in Detroit. The order of pictures here are in the order of names;  Stuckey (1st), Singler (2nd), Daye (3rd), and even Prince (4th):

This is mind numbing to me. Detroit’s point guards and wing players, namely those that have seen significant minutes, have been so bad from this area of the floor. Combined, they have shot 38.8%, and most of that has been brought up because of Prince. Prince has shot 124 more attempts than any other Piston, and he has the second best percentage. Tayshaun all year seemed to be the only one who is comfortable enough to shoot the mid range shot, and he is still a whole 11% behind Calderon. This isn’t the most crucial part of the floor in the NBA, but it is important to be able to have at least one guy who can hit this shot. Prince’s high number of attempts speak for itself on the fact you need a player to shoot that shot just for floor spacing. Having Calderon on the squad is going to be a great improvement over anyone the Pistons have had.

So Calderon is going to be able to turn the ball over less, and for reference the Pistons just lost a game giving up 20 turnovers to Milwaukee. Calderon is a more efficient shooter than not only Knight and Bynum, but any other point guard who qualifies with minutes. He is going to set up Monroe and Drummond (or in other terms the core of the team to build off of) better than anyone who was on the Pistons could. He may even be a worse defensive player than Bynum and Knight, but he can’t be much worse. Most importantly he is bringing a weapon no Detroit player has had all year, a mid range shot that can let the team use all of the space on the floor.

Part 2: The Subtraction of Tayshaun Prince and Austin Daye. I wrote the impact of losing Prince had on the mental state of Detroit’s play last night. The team should be moving on better now without him. So what will happen on the court? Well first of all Detroit lost their best isolation and corner 3 option in Tayshaun, and above the break 3 shooter in Daye. The drop off in corner 3s will hurt a lot, as Prince shot 54% from the corner this season. The next best option is Charlie Villanueva at 42%, so there is a drop of about 0.36 points per possession of corner 3s from Prince to Charlie V. Calderon should be considered much better option on above the break 3s than Daye was in limited attempts, so don’t focus on that subtraction too much. As for the isolation, Rodney Stuckey has the most isolation possessions out of the remaining team members, but he has been all kinds of bad in it (0.65 PPP per Synergy). The only real solution I can come up with is a move of Brandon Knight to the 2 guard spot (a move eluded to earlier in the Piston Powered 3 on 3). Knight’s 0.91 isolation PPP is actually more effective than Prince’s 0.82, so I feel the team is best served using this as the best solution. If you saw the Magic game earlier this week where Stuckey was a Coach’s Decision scratch, Knight was on the floor at the 2 with Will Bynum playing point for long stretches of the game. Knight also had one of his most efficient offensive games of the year the same night, so in a small sample it looks like a very viable move.

As for that corner 3, well I do not feel playing Charlie V more is a great solution. Even if he can hit more corner 3’s than anyone on the team his game has too many subtractions. I think if the team can all entirely work on the shot (it is regarded as the easiest 3), there is a chance they can manage to keep it as a part of their arsenal without killing the offense. I wish I could say there is a player on the roster who can be better, but there isn’t a non-Charlie V option that is shooting over 40%.

On defense, Prince used to be considered one of the best wing defenders in the league. So, this is going to be a huge loss for the Pistons right? Wrong. Sure, this trade leaves the Pistons without their starting 3, but it is logical to think Singler will move to the 3 (he played there last night). Singler isn’t a defensive stud, but neither is Prince at this point of his career. Singler is giving up a better but pretty similar defensive mark as Prince. Tayshaun gives up a mark of 0.85 PPP and Singler gives up 0.83 PPP. Even though defensive stats are not a perfect art, their defensive ratings (108 Singler -109 Prince) and defensive Win Shares (0.8 Prince – 0.9 Singler) are very similar. All of this confirms what I see when watching that Singler isn’t a drop off on defense to Prince at all.

Other than the corner 3, the next biggest loss for the Pistons is just the lack of wing depth. Prince’s PER is 13, which is below average. Prince’s PER is also the highest on the team for wing players. The number isn’t the huge point as much as the fact Detroit is very weak at the wing positions. Singler does what he can for his low amount of talent. Stuckey has had one of his worst seasons this year. Daye is also getting shipped out. If Knight doesn’t move over (which there is no reason he won’t), they are going to be unreal thin. Even if Knight moves over, they are going to be thin, but dramatically less so. Either way the amount of wings who can play a good amount of minutes in Detroit is low, so they are going to struggle to find a way not to be worse than opponents in that department.

This post used stats from – Basketball – Reference, Synergy Sports, and