Originally Posted by jlauber
Dantley was on the downside of his career when he was playing with the Pistons. He was still an efficient shooter, but his scoring had dropped considerably by the time he was in Detroit, and his career was basically over after the Pistons traded him.
And you certainly couldn't fault him for Detroit not winning the title in '88. Dantley averaged 21.3 ppg on .573 shooting from the floor, and .859 from the line (and he was BY FAR, the Pistons leading scorer from the line.)
And given the fact that the Lakers were wiped out by injuries in the '89 Finals, I think AD would have won a title with that team.
Like I said, I can't claim to be an expert on Dantley's game with Utah, but are you sure he was past his prime when he went to Detroit?
You just mentioned his scoring going down, but isn't that to be expected when going to a better team? Particularly a team like Detroit with so many weapons?
1985-1986 w/ Utah- 29.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 3.5 apg, 3 TO, 56.3 FG%, 62.9 TS%, 36.1 mpg (29 years old)
1986-1987 w/ Detroit- 21.5 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 2 apg, 2.2 TO, 53.4 FG%, 61.4 TS%, 33.8 mpg (30 years old)
He played less minutes with Detroit and dropped from 19.1 FGA to 13.9 FGA.
In '88, Detroit was 54-28 overall, 44-25 with Dantley and 13-6 when Dantley came off the bench. A 10-3 record without him is pretty damn good.
Detroit was 30-12 with Dantley in '89, but 30-6 with Mark Aguirre and 28-4 with Aguirre starting.
Dallas was also better with Dantley than Aguirre. The Mavs went 25-19 with Aguirre and 11-20 with Dantley, 9-16 when Dantley started.
And speaking of Dantley's scoring falling off when he went to Detroit, well Mark Aguirre was 29 in 1989. And he went from 21.7 ppg with Dallas in 34.8 mpg to 15.5 ppg in 29.7 mpg with Detroit.
So while I'm not making a statement one way or the other, there is evidence to suggest that Dantley's impact wasn't half as big as the stats suggest. The knock on him from everything I've heard was that he was a black hole who held the ball for an extremely long time to get his shot. I thought he was impressive with Detroit, but I have my doubts that a contending team was ever going to have him averaging 30.
I would agree that Detroit would've won in '89 with him, though.