1970s Top Team Tourney Ro64, 1974 Pistons @ 1979 Suns

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1970s Top Team Tourney Ro64, 1974 Pistons @ 1979 Suns 

Post#1 » by sansterre » Tue Sep 14, 2021 12:45 pm

Don't forget, the home team for the series only benefits from that designation for Game 7. The rankings for these teams are out of 37 (because their are 37 teams in the 1970s tourney). The player stats are SS (ShotShare, percentage of team's shots taken when on the court) and efficiency relative to league average, and the slash stats are points per game, rebounds per game, assists per game and stocks per game (if applicable), all adjusted to a Pace of 100. And then the player's playoff OBPM (if available).

The 1974 Detroit Pistons (#35) @ The 1979 Phoenix Suns (#30)

Overall:

Record: ‘74 Pistons, 52 wins (24th) > '79 Suns, 50 wins (27th)
RSRS: ‘74 Pistons, +4.02 (22nd) > ‘79 Suns, +3.55 (24th)
PSRS: '79 Suns, +5.72 (19th) > ‘74 Pistons, +5.50 (22nd)

When the '74 Pistons have Possession:

Overall Comparison, '74 Pistons' offense vs '79 Suns’' defense:

Regular Season: -0.1 Offensive Rating (32nd) vs -1.4 Defensive Rating (30th): -1.5 expected
Playoffs: +6.1 Offensive Rating (3rd) vs -6.1 Defensive Rating (7th): +0.0 expected

Lineup:

PG: Dave Bing, 22.8% SS on -0.6% rTS, 17.7 / 3.3 / 6.5 / 1.4 : +0.7 playoff OBPM
SG: Stu Lantz, 20.6% SS on +1.3% rTS, 8.4 / 2.2 / 1.8 / 0.8: +1.0 playoff OBPM
SF: Don Adams, 16.9% SS on -4.6% rTS, 9.7 / 5.7 / 1.8 / 1.6: -1.0 playoff OBPM
PF: Curtis Rowe, 15.7% SS on +1.8% rTS, 10.0 / 5.9 / 1.6 / 0.9: +0.5 playoff OBPM
C: Bob Lanier, 25.5% SS on +4.3% rTS, 21.1 / 12.5 / 3.9 / 4.1: +5.6 playoff OBPM
6th: George Trapp, 23.6% SS on +0.6% rTS, 8.7 / 3.6 / 0.9 / 0.9: +0.8 playoff OBPM

When the '79 Suns have Possession:

Overall Comparison, '79 Suns' offense vs '74 Pistons' defense:

Regular Season: +1.9 Offensive Rating (17th) vs -3.9 Defensive Rating (12th): -2.0 expected
Playoffs: -1.1 Offensive Rating (34th) vs +0.6 Defensive Rating (31st): -0.5 expected

Lineup:

PG: Don Buse, 11.2% SS on -1.1% rTS, 7.2 / 2.4 / 4.0 / 1.9: -0.1 playoff OBPM
SG: Paul Westphal, 29.4% SS on +5.0% rTS, 22.1 / 1.8 / 6.0 / 1.6: +3.3 playoff OBPM
SF: Walter Davis, 29.4% SS on +7.6% rTS, 21.8 / 4.3 / 4.0 / 2.0: +5.8 playoff OBPM
PF: Truck Robinson, 23.8% SS on +0.9% rTS, 14.7 / 8.0 / 1.4 / 1.1: -1.6 playoff OBPM
C: Alvan Adams, 23.6% SS on +4.0% rTS, 16.4 / 8.5 / 4.3 / 2.0: +1.6 playoff OBPM
6th: Gar Heard, 15.8% SS on -5.1% rTS, 5.8 / 5.2 / 0.9 / 1.6: -1.6 playoff OBPM

Discussion Questions:

1. Injuries: Alvan Adams will be missing Game 4 for the Suns.
2. The Pistons went into the playoffs with an average offense and a strong defense, built mostly around forcing turnovers (4th among the 20 teams in this tournament for whom we have those numbers). In the playoffs their defense struggled, holding the ‘74 Bulls to their average. But their offense played extremely well, led by the underrated and resilient Bob Lanier (who averaged 26/15 on +4.3% rTS in the series against the Bulls). The Suns’ defense had great success in the playoffs, but they certainly faced lackluster opponents (the Blazers and Kings were nothing to write home about). Could the Suns contain Lanier? The Suns were all about pressure and grade out as one of the worst shot-defense and defensive rebounding teams in this tournament. And let’s not forget that Alvan Adams will miss game 4. Then again, if you’re a 70s Bulls doubter (and you have reason) the Pistons playing them so tightly (and outscoring them over the 7-game series) is probably less impressive.
3. If you want an offense led by high-volume stars look no further than the ‘79 Suns. They were awful on the glass (for this tournament) and turned the ball over a lot but they shot really, really well. Two players taking 29+% of their team’s shots and shooting at +5.0% rTS or better? Those are numbers that sound like they came out of the modern Heliocentric era, not the late 70s. But Paul Westphal was a beast for a few years, and Walter Davis was one of the best volume scorers of his era (on a per minute basis, he usually only played about 30 a night). But Westphal struggled in the playoffs, posting league average numbers against the Blazers and shooting poorly on high volume against the Sonics (going up against prime DJ in the playoffs was no joke. The Suns’ offense was basically dependent on Westphal and Davis to carry it. Westphal showed in the playoffs that he could be slowed, but do we think that the ‘74 Pistons are the team to do it? The Suns certainly advanced farther in the playoffs, but they weren’t playing teams as tough as the ‘74 Bulls (even adjusted for their playoff struggles).
4. This is a weird matchup.

I’m going to put this up for 48 hours, unless I need to keep it open for a tie-breaker.

Post with who you would pick to win this series, ideally with the number of games. And if you have any insight into these players or matchups beyond what is above please don't hesitate to post; the goal (as always) is for us all to walk away with more knowledge than we started with. Lord knows I don't know a ton about these teams :)

Spoiler:
penbeast0 wrote:

eminence wrote:

DQuinn1575 wrote:

70sFan wrote:

Odinn21 wrote:

HomeCourtLoss wrote:


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Re: 1970s Top Team Tourney Ro64, 1974 Pistons @ 1979 Suns 

Post#2 » by penbeast0 » Tue Sep 14, 2021 7:36 pm

I'm not sure what happened in 74 but the team defense (and Lanier's individual defense) seemed to have kicked it up a couple of levels from their normal mediocre level (and it went back to mediocre in 75 and stayed there for the rest of Lanier's tenure). I tend to be very skeptical that this extra intensity will translate well to the postseason where everyone picks up their intensity. The Suns are more of a sure thing and I would say Suns in 6.
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Re: 1970s Top Team Tourney Ro64, 1974 Pistons @ 1979 Suns 

Post#3 » by homecourtloss » Wed Sep 15, 2021 5:35 am

penbeast0 wrote:I'm not sure what happened in 74 but the team defense (and Lanier's individual defense) seemed to have kicked it up a couple of levels from their normal mediocre level (and it went back to mediocre in 75 and stayed there for the rest of Lanier's tenure). I tend to be very skeptical that this extra intensity will translate well to the postseason where everyone picks up their intensity. The Suns are more of a sure thing and I would say Suns in 6.


I was thinking the same thing though these teams are rather evenly matched. Will have to go with Suns in 6 close games as Well.
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Re: 1970s Top Team Tourney Ro64, 1974 Pistons @ 1979 Suns 

Post#4 » by sansterre » Wed Sep 15, 2021 10:13 am

I feel like a wiener to agree, as I love Bob Lanier, but the Suns are a fairly consistent known quantity while the '74 Pistons are . . . not. I have to go with the Suns (in 6) on this one.
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Re: 1970s Top Team Tourney Ro64, 1974 Pistons @ 1979 Suns 

Post#5 » by homecourtloss » Wed Sep 15, 2021 1:47 pm

sansterre wrote:I feel like a wiener to agree, as I love Bob Lanier, but the Suns are a fairly consistent known quantity while the '74 Pistons are . . . not. I have to go with the Suns (in 6) on this one.


Lanier might be as historically underrated as a player can get; I’m glad the PC board here has given him some love and attention. 1974 and 1975 Lanier were two fantastic seasons of a two-way big. I was originally thinking Pistons in 7 with that home court in game 7 to the Pistons and having the best player in the series. Lanier, all the way up to his last season in 1984, was a solidly positive two-way player on a very good Bucks team you outlined in your top 100 teams project.

One would think the Suns would have a better offense with Westphal, Davis, and Adams considering they only missed 3-4 games between them. 500 TS added between them, and +4.6 OBPM, +3.8 OBPM, and +2.3 OBPM, respectively. How many teams have had 500 TS added between three players, and had these types of OBPMs, and been only a +1.9 rORtg, 7th ranked offense? Not many I would think.
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Re: 1970s Top Team Tourney Ro64, 1974 Pistons @ 1979 Suns 

Post#6 » by Odinn21 » Wed Sep 15, 2021 2:54 pm

Their regular season success are pretty close. But 1979 Suns were a team I'd say exceeded their regular season numbers in terms of quality. Their ball movement was top notch and that's why they were the toughest the team eventual champions faced in that playoffs.

Vote: 1979 Suns in 6.
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Re: 1970s Top Team Tourney Ro64, 1974 Pistons @ 1979 Suns 

Post#7 » by penbeast0 » Wed Sep 15, 2021 9:01 pm

homecourtloss wrote:
sansterre wrote:I feel like a wiener to agree, as I love Bob Lanier, but the Suns are a fairly consistent known quantity while the '74 Pistons are . . . not. I have to go with the Suns (in 6) on this one.


Lanier might be as historically underrated as a player can get; I’m glad the PC board here has given him some love and attention. 1974 and 1975 Lanier were two fantastic seasons of a two-way big. I was originally thinking Pistons in 7 with that home court in game 7 to the Pistons and having the best player in the series. Lanier, all the way up to his last season in 1984, was a solidly positive two-way player on a very good Bucks team you outlined in your top 100 teams project.

One would think the Suns would have a better offense with Westphal, Davis, and Adams considering they only missed 3-4 games between them. 500 TS added between them, and +4.6 OBPM, +3.8 OBPM, and +2.3 OBPM, respectively. How many teams have had 500 TS added between three players, and had these types of OBPMs, and been only a +1.9 rORtg, 7th ranked offense? Not many I would think.


I don't know if we have any better defensive numbers but Lanier in 74 had a DWS and DWBP almost double any other season (though 75 he was at least a positive player). Similarly (and probably not coincidentally) Lanier played on a total of one good defensive team in Detroit and that was in 74 where there were articles about how he was playing with more fire and energy and led his team to 3rd in the league defensively (below average team in 73), then the whole team went down to second worst in the league defensively in 75.

So, no, I don't think Lanier was a good two way center in 74 and 75, just in 74. 75 he was his normal self, a terrific offensive center who didn't provide his team a ton of defensive lift.

To be more precise, starting in his rookie year of 1971 the Pistons ranked in the bottom half of the league in the following years:
1971, 1972, 1973, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, and 80 (the year he was traded to Milwaukee). That's why I see 74's team as a fluke defensively.

His Milwaukee teams were good defensively but that coincides with the prime of Sidney Moncrief then Paul Pressey's best year and Lanier was platooning with defensive specialist Alton Lister and/or Harvey Catchings and when Lanier retired with Randy Breuer taking over as the offensive half of the center platoon, they didn't miss a beat finishing 2nd in the league both the next two years so I don't give Lanier that much of the credit for those defenses (some, he was on a winner for the first time and played with energy).
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Re: 1970s Top Team Tourney Ro64, 1974 Pistons @ 1979 Suns 

Post#8 » by 70sFan » Wed Sep 15, 2021 9:18 pm

From what I've seen (and I've seen around 10 Pistons games, along with a lot of Bucks ones), I don't find Lanier's defense problematic. He's not some kind of defensive beast, but I don't see any problem with his effort. The only thing that made him struggle is his lack of mobility, but it wasn't a massive problem back in the 1970s.

Here are all 1970s Pistons games I've found - in case you'd like to watch Lanier defense closer:

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Re: 1970s Top Team Tourney Ro64, 1974 Pistons @ 1979 Suns 

Post#9 » by wojoaderge » Wed Sep 15, 2021 10:26 pm


I've wanted to see more of this game for years, thanks
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Re: 1970s Top Team Tourney Ro64, 1974 Pistons @ 1979 Suns 

Post#10 » by sansterre » Thu Sep 16, 2021 1:44 am

70sFan wrote:From what I've seen (and I've seen around 10 Pistons games, along with a lot of Bucks ones), I don't find Lanier's defense problematic. He's not some kind of defensive beast, but I don't see any problem with his effort. The only thing that made him struggle is his lack of mobility, but it wasn't a massive problem back in the 1970s.

Here are all 1970s Pistons games I've found - in case you'd like to watch Lanier defense closer:


Thanks so much! I watched the first quarter of Game 4 of the '74 series between the Pistons and Bulls. It's crazy to watch those cute little spreadsheet entries run around like real people (kidding . . . mostly).

Thoughts in no order:

1) Bob Love reminds me of Joe Fulks; one of those guys who can get his shot off anywhere (but it's not clear if he actually should). And when his shot is landing he looks invincible. It just doesn't land that consistently.
2) Lanier was surprisingly quick and skilled for a guy that big. And that lefty hook looks like an optical illusion.
3) It seemed like if Lanier wasn't scoring well the Pistons' offense didn't have a lot going on.
4) That Bulls offense had a lot of weapons; from Walker to Sloan to Love to Van Lier . . . obviously they look good because they blew the Pistons out that quarter, but still.
5) It's so weird watching a game from an era where a reasonably open 12-footer is a "Heck yeah, bombs away!" situation. I was surprised by the high quantity of possessions that fought to get close midrange shots reliably. I mean, it stands to reason given the ruleset, but still.
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Re: 1970s Top Team Tourney Ro64, 1974 Pistons @ 1979 Suns 

Post#11 » by sansterre » Thu Sep 16, 2021 10:51 am

The voters are cautious, but universal (4-0) in choosing the '79 Suns to advance to face the 1970 Knicks. One more game in the Round of 64!
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Re: 1970s Top Team Tourney Ro64, 1974 Pistons @ 1979 Suns 

Post#12 » by 70sFan » Thu Sep 16, 2021 10:52 am

I missed the voting, but I'd vote for Suns anyway.

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