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Advanced Stats Analysis: Jodie Meeks' Value in Detroit

Marc Roberts

Marc Roberts

Marc F Roberts writes about fantasy basketball for RotoWire. He has won no fantasy awards, but his mom thinks his writing is "fantastic". Hubie Brown is a national treasure.

The Detroit Pistons struck first this year in free agency, reportedly agreeing to terms with guard Jodie Meeks on a three-year, $19.5 million dollar deal, according to Adrian Wojnarowski. Meeks was a pleasant surprise for fantasy owners last season, ranking as the 57th best player in standard rotisserie leagues, despite being undrafted in most leagues.

Player

MIN

FGA

FG%

FTA

FT%

3PM

REB

AST

STL

BLK

PTS

Auction Value

Fantasy Rank

Jodie Meeks

33.2

11.6

47%

3.4

85%

2.1

2.5

1.8

1.4

0.1

15.7

$12

57


The majority of his value came from steals (1.4 spg) and threes (2.1 per game), although he was also a positive contributor in points (15.7 ppg). Lets take a look at how this move affects Meeks' fantasy value going forward.

Pace Impact

Last season, Meeks was benefited by playing for the Lakers, who played at the second highest pace in the league, averaging 98.7 possessions per game. Now, he'll play for new Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy. Here's a look at the average possessions per game from Van Gundy's Orlando teams from 2007-2012 (courtesy of basketball-reference):

NBA Season

Team

Pace (Rank)

2011-12

Orlando

89.0 (29th of 30)

2010-11

Orlando

91.2 (18th of 30)

2009-10

Orlando

92.0 (18th of 30)

2008-09

Orlando

92.3 (12th of 30)

2007-08

Orlando

93.4 (9th of 30)


It's difficult to predict exactly how Van Gundy's absence from coaching over the last few seasons will affect his style, but after looking at these pace numbers, it's difficult to imagine that he'll come anywhere close to what the Lakers did last season. If we use 92.0 possessions per game as an expectation going forward, that would mean that a player who averages 33.2 minutes per game would expect to see a decrease in possessions per game from 68.2 last season to 63.3 next season. This decrease in possessions per game would drop Meeks 15 spots in the fantasy ranks, from 57th to 72nd.

Playing Time Impact

It's still very early, but at this point, it seems like the majority of the Pistons' backcourt minutes will go to Brandon Jennings, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Singler, and now Jodie Meeks. Considering his sizable contract, it seems likely that Meeks will be a starter for the Pistons, or at the very least get plenty of minutes. Let's take a look at the playing time Van Gundy has given to his guards in the past. Here are all of the guards that Van Gundy played over 30 minutes per game in his five seasons in Orlando (courtesy of basketball-reference):

NBA Season

Player

MPG

2011-12

None


2010-11

Jason Richardson

34.9

2010-11

Jameer Nelson

30.5

2010-11

Vince Carter

30.2

2009-10

Vince Carter

30.8

2008-09

Jameer Nelson

31.2

2007-08

None



In 2010-11, Jason Richardson average 34.9 minutes per game. Otherwise, no guard in Orlando averaged over 32 minutes per game during Van Gundy's tenure, and during two of his five seasons, he didn't play a single guard over 30 minutes per game. Cleary, Van Gundy doesn't have a history of playing guards heavy minutes, and so it seems like Meeks' ceiling for minutes is about 30 per game, even if he is the starter. Last season, Meeks averaged 33.2 minutes per game. Reducing that average to 30 minutes per game would drop his fantasy ranking another 30 spots, from 72nd to 102nd.

Projection For Next Season

Last season, Meeks averaged a career high in field goal percentage (46.3%) and steals per 100 possessions (2.1 spg). Playing in Van Gundy's more defensive-oriented scheme will likely negatively impact both of those categories, as Meeks will likely have fewer easy looks and will not be allowed to gamble as frequently on defensive. If we use Meeks' previous seasons in addition to last season on a per-100 possessions basis to develop his projected stats, and adjust them for pace and playing time (a method I explain in detail here), we get the following projection for Meeks next season:

2014-15 Projection

MIN

FGA

FG%

FTA

FT%

3PM

REB

AST

STL

BLK

PTS

Auction Value

Fantasy Rank

Jodie Meeks

30

9.3

43%

2.2

88%

1.9

2.6

1.3

1

0.1

11.8

$0

132


Even with an optimistic projection of 30 minutes per game, Meeks projects to fall out of the fantasy top 130. At 28 minutes per game, his fantasy ranking would drop even further to 148th. Meeks had 20 million good reasons to sign with the Pistons, but his fantasy value was not one of them. I wouldn't draft him next season in standard leagues.

Do you agree or disagree with my projection for Meeks? Would you like to know how he would rank at a different level of playing time or in a different fantasy league? Leave a comment below, or contact me on Twitter @MarcFRoberts.