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  1. #1
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    The Myth of the 2004 Pistons

    http://wagesofwins.com/2013/01/02/th...-2004-pistons/
    Can you win a title without a star? This is a topic that oddly both conventional wisdom and the statheads actually seem to agree on. The NBA is a star driven league, despite what some say. And for the timeframe that we have data for (1978 onwards, thanks Lee Meade!) we’ve seen the following:

    No team since the 1978-1979 Seattle Supersonics has won a title without a top 10 player in Wins Produced.
    No teams other than the 1998-1999 New York Knicks and 1978-1979 Seattle Supersonics have made the Finals without a top 15 player in Wins Produced

    However, when I hear this argument come up, one team is cited over and over again: The 2004 Detroit Pistons. Apparently, where other teams had stars, the Pistons had team work. However, this claim is without doubt one of the most foolish I hear.

    The Pistons had a star, they had center Ben Wallace. Let’s give a little background.
    College Years

    Ben Wallace went undrafted in the 1996 draft. The fact is that his college career may have merited him a look. As a senior at Virginia Union University, he lead his team to a Division II Final Four. His per-game stats were pretty impressive: 12.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.7 blocks. Admittedly his free throw shooting was terrible and his shooting efficiency was middling at 50% However, Ben Wallace had an Estimated WP48 of 0.239 with his stats. A winning team, winning stats? Of course, his age, size and lack of scoring prowess hurt him. Regardless, Ben Wallace being an impressive center in the NBA was not a shock given his college numbers.
    Underused in Washington/Orlando

    In Washington Ben Wallace played pretty much no minutes in his first season. He managed to hit 17 minutes a game his second season and 27 minutes a game his third season. Then he was traded with a gamut of other players for a 30 year old Isaac Austin. On Orlando he played 24.2 minutes a game. This was until he was traded as part of a sign and trade for Grant Hill. And we’ll see in a second how both Washington and Orlando royally screwed this up.
    MVP Seasons

    Here’s a fun little chart. Let’s examine Ben Wallace’s WP48 rank in the NBA by season(minimum of 400 minutes to qualify) Side by side I’ve put his Wins rank in the NBA. Let’s examine how Ben Wallace looked from the start of his career to the end of his tenure in Detroit. Numbers from the NBA Geek

    First, we can see in Ben Wallace’s first season with any minutes (1998) he was in fact 6th in the league in per-minute production. Of course, with such limited minutes, he was 69th in wins. With decent minutes in Washington and Orlando (1999, 2000) he stayed top 6 in production, while climbing into top 10 territory for wins. Finally in 2001 he came to Detroit and got starters minutes. His numbers from 2001-2004 are staggering. He was the top player in WP48 and Wins in 2002 and 2003. In 2004, when his team finally won the title, he was second only to Kevin Garnett!
    Not a Surprise? Not a Star??

    Alright, so let’s examine the situation. In 2004 Ben Wallace had been the Wins Produced MVP in back to back seasons. He lost his crown to Garnett but was still second in the league. Let’s also look at conventional wisdom. Ben Wallace made the All-Star game in 2003 and 2004. He was a two time Defensive Player of the Year winner. And guess what the Pistons were really good at? The answer is defense for those that missed the rhetorical nature of my question. How can anyone claim that Ben Wallace wasn’t the star of the Pistons? How can anyone that pulls out the mantra “Defense Wins Championships” say that with a straight face? And I argue how Ben Wallace was a star mattered a lot too.
    The Right Stats

    There’s one other key aspect of Ben Wallace’s stardom. If we examine what Ben Wallace truly excelled at, it came down to:

    Rebounds (86%)
    Blocks (87%)
    Personal Fouls (70%)
    Steals ( 68%)
    Turnovers (61%)

    I’ve listed the year to to year consistency for each stat as found in Stumbling on Wins. Recapping Stumbling on Wins: The most consistent stats in basketball are blocks, assists and rebounds. Ben Wallace was remarkable at two out of three of these. Tack in that he was also amazing at steals, while not fouling and you have a defensive powerhouse!
    Summing Up

    Ben Wallace was an absolutely dominant player in the 2000s. He did this by excelling at the most consistent boxscore statistics. And while he did this he racked up awards and All-Star berths. Every time I hear someone say the “starless 2004 Pistons” I’m baffled by the amount of evidence they’ve ignored. The story of the “starless 2004 Pistons” winning through team work is a myth on so many levels.

    The truth is the Pistons had a star in Wallace for years. They were a very good team in 2003 thanks to the addition of Chauncey Billups and lost in the Conference Finals. In 2004 a returning Wallace and Billups coupled with a maturing Tayshaun Prince — he used to be good once! — pushed them over the edge. In 2005 they returned to the finals and lost in 7 games. The Pistons were a very good team, lead by a very good star. To say otherwise is to ignore all of the facts. And sadly, the farther in the past the Pistons good years go, the more frequent I hear it told that way.

    -Dre
    So, Was Big Ben a superstar?

  2. #2
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    People seem to think superstars are all offense. Thats why Ben wasnt considered a star player imo

  3. #3
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    Ben was a superstar. I made this argument years ago to one of my friends.

  4. #4
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    A superstar is a player that if there not playing on the team, the team looks lost out there and in essence, sucks.

    When Wallace left us for the bulls our team was still competitive. But when Billups left our team went completely down hill. The real superstar is Billups.

  5. #5
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    IMO, it's because the league had made it so that offense side of the game seems to be more prominent then the defensive side of things, which definitely is a travesty but it is what it is. While Big Ben wasn't an offensive superstar he definitely is a defensive superstar.
    $9.99

  6. #6
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    We had a team full of guys who were really good at their position. The starters were all good at particular things that each made the team better. I wouldn't call any certain player the superstar of the team, just the way they played together. It was more so a super team.


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  7. #7
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    If Rasheed would get pissed all the time and stay down low..we would have had a superstar.

  8. #8
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    A superstar to me usually has the whole package as a player. They might not do it all 100 percent perfect but they can do it. Ben had no offensive game whatsoever, but his defense was superstar worthy. I'd call Ben an all-star but not a superstar.



    Catches: Yards: TDs:

  9. #9
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    I love big ben, but superstars have an all around package. They're 2way players. While Wallace was a HIGHLY underrated passer, he wasn't a playmaker, or a scorer.


    Quote Originally Posted by ACanadian View Post
    Nope Val shot better from the FT line, that cancels out all other stats.
    Toronto fan on why JVal is better than Drummond.

  10. #10
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    Ben had one of the worst offensive games in the history of the NBA and one of the worst ft% in the history of the NBA. Superstar and those two categories can't be used in the same sentence
    Last edited by shyfly24; 01-02-2013 at 11:39 PM.

  11. #11
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    Honestly if ben is considered a superstar just cause of his defense, then I guess we have to say Marcus Camby is one too

    He posted the same defensive stats as Ben in the same amount of years and had a WAY better offense then ben to add to it.

    Hall of fame worthy i guess eh?

  12. #12
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    Ben was not a superstar. He was an all-star. We did not have a superstar. Billups was the closest thing we had to a superstar while we had our run. (damn near was one)

  13. #13
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    Lets all call Bruce Bowen, Tony Allen, Rick Fox, Dough Christie superstars as well

    Lock down defenders w/ no offensive game. Do you see what I see?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by shyfly24 View Post
    Lets all call Bruce Bowen, Tony Allen, Rick Fox, Dough Christie superstars as well

    Lock down defenders w/ no offensive game. Do you see what I see?
    Ben was a superstar for like a gazillion reasons. You can't just look at "stats"

  15. #15
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    He was a superstar for at least a couple years. He had national recognition in the media... fans everywhere knew to Fear the Fro. Not to mention the iconic image of Ben (Not Chauncey) passionately raising the Finals trophy while surrounded by his teammates. I think Chauncey was the second most valuable player on Bad Boys 2.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=72sMNDjrX_4

    I don't think Chauncey ever got a spot like this.
    Last edited by Stuckey#3; 01-03-2013 at 02:12 AM.

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