Opponent Scouting: Sacramento Kings. 1-7
Tomorrow night (Wednesday November 11) The Pistons will play the Sacramento Kings in Sac town at 10:00pm est. The Kings once again look to be a train wreck, basically the Kings. But there is still a chance they pull together a decent team. Lets have a look. (it should also be noted that I am such a huge Boogie fan that I have actually watched more King's basketball the past few years than I care to admit. Also in case you did not know, Boogie is Demarcus Cousins.)
The Them: The Kings have struggled out the gate going just 1-7. However it should be noted, that they have played a brutal schedule, and Demarcus Cousins has only played in 4 of their 8 games. (and one of those games he got hurt in and did not play the whole game) Just try to think of how the Pistons would have started if Andre had only played in half their games so far. Their best win on the year is over the Lakers, because that is their only win. And they did beat them pretty handily. Their worst loss is probably a 20 point loss to the Spurs, since that is the only game in which Boogie played in that was not close. But even without Boogie they played some really good teams really close. This is not a terrible team. They have a lot of players who are real players. They go 9 deep on the team of all guys who a real NBA players. And they have Demarcus Cousins who is a legit superstar level player. However, this is the Kings, and they are hugely dysfunctional. There is talk that the coach could be fired just a few games into the season for the second year in a row, despite playing 4 games without their best player against a brutal schedule, and that coach (George Karl) has a LONG track record of success. Boogie apparently called a players only meeting to deal with some "internal issues" also. Look here is the point. They are the Kings, they have lots of problems. But IF they can pull their heads out of their own asses there is a real team here, that could actually be pretty good. Which until they fire Karl, could happen any game. So do not overlook these guys.
Matchups to watch:
DRUMMOND VS. BOOGIE: Ok this is far and away the big ticket here. Everything else takes a back seat to this matchup. Not only are Drummond and Boogie (probably) the two best centers in basketball (certainly both are towards the top) and they also both are of the bully variety. Boogie is obviously far more skilled in that he can actually like, shoot. But even with his shooting and ball handling powers. Boogie lives down low in the paint right alongside Drummond. And he is also big and strong. There might legitimately be an earthquake caused each time either of these guys tries to post up the other. And given the physical nature they both play with, and Boogie's temper, we might see some punches thrown tonight. For Andre though, this is a big test. He has been legitimately dominant on defense this season. And Cousins is easily the best Center he has gone against this season. If Andre stonewalls Cousins like he has literally everyone else who has dared to come into his paint, it will be time to freak out, because Andre might win defensive player of the year. It will also be interesting to see how he deals attitude and effort wise. Drummond has often feasted this season on just being way bigger, stronger, and athletic than literally everyone else. But Cousins is one of the few guys in the NBA who can actually compete with Drummond in all 3 of those areas. But on the other hand, Boogie is also used to getting his way in all 3 areas as well. And Boogie has a temper, and Drummond can get flustered and mope a bit too. So it will be interesting. Hopefully neither does stupid mental stuff and just competes hard all night, because that will be awesome to watch. Like seriously, every time a shot goes up, just watch these two battle under the basket.
Reggie Jackson vs. Health: Everything I have seen has said that Reggie will be fine, and that "he just took a knee to the thigh." But he was legitimately hobbled just last night. So even if it is not a serious long term thing, he might still be a little gimpy/in pain. And even though he will not have some terrifying matchup like the last two games, but he is the teams second best player, and the only person who can facilitate with the ball in his hands. If he is not 100% this team gets way worse. So all indications are that he will play, but watch to see how he looks. If he is healthy he should pretty easily win the point guard battle (sorry Rondo but you are not that good anymore) but they need him there.
Rudy Gay vs. Whatever Piston is guarding him: Gay has been cold to start the season, but in his two(ish) years with the Kings he has actually been really good. And is pretty easily their second best player. Like think about it like you think about Drummond and Jackson on the Pistons. Cousins is easily the teams best player, then after a big gap it is Gay, then a big gap to everyone else. And his struggles out of the gate are part of why they have come up just short in several games. But he has a track record of being better, which means that he is likely to catch on soon. And he is just the type of player the Pistons do not have a clear answer too. He is to big for KCP, Ilyasova is to slow, Stanley Johnson is still a rookie. (even if he has had flashes of brilliance on D.) Greater Morris is probably the best matchup and will get most of the time on Gay, but Morris is prone to mental lapses and also is just not a awesome defender even when he is locked in. (He can be very good, but not great) As such, if Gay regresses to the mean a little bit for a tick upwards in luck, is combined with having no one to really defend him well, could mean a big game for him. If the Pistons can make his struggles continue at least one more game however, they Pistons will have a huge advantage.
Steve Blake: I feel bad at this point, and this horse is beyond dead. But he has played so poorly. He struggled to even bring the ball up the court at times against the Warriors. The other problem is that he will likely go against Darren Collison for most of his minutes, and Collison is REALLY fast. He is not as fast as Schroder, but same kind of deal.
The Pistons vs. Game long good team defense: The Pistons have shown that they can turn up to become a truly stifling defensive unit. But they are still prone to having the crisp rotations and great effort coming and going. And for all that Rondo has fallen, he is still a brilliant passer. So if guys do not have their head on a swivel and make crisp, hard rotations, Rondo could have a big game and become a real problem.
KCP vs. McLemore: lol this isn't actually something for this game, given that KCP was passed up by the Kings, it would be nice to see him kill McLemore when they are on the floor together. (Which probably won't be a ton because McLemore weirdly has not played a lot this year.)
So in conclusion
Cackle with knowing glee if:
Andre Drummond destroys Cousins on both ends and Cousins throws a punch or some shit.
Reggie looks healthy
KCP plays McLemore for a few plays and is way better
George Karl starts to slit his wrists on the bench
lol remember Caron Butler? Yeah he will probably play a few minutes for them. Laugh when that happens.
Run for the hills if:
Cousins beats the hell out of Drummond
A Drummond/Cousins collision causes an earthquake that collapses the arena and kills all the players
Rudy Gay is in "NOT THIS GUY" mode.
Rondo is hitting all sorts of crazy passes.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Cousins struggles to score all night on Drummond and Drummond solidifies himself as the clear owner of the paint
Rudy Gay does have a big game
Greater Morris also has a big game
KCP envelopes every person he defends
The Pistons win by so much that George Karl is officially put to the edge of being fired
As much as I think the Kings could still pull together and get good, I don't really think it is likely. They are better than the Blazers but also way less functional. As such they might be the easiest game of the season so far. But that would be true even if they play well. The Pistons have played a brutal schedule. Also, who knows for sure what the heck the Kings will do. They are crazy. If they come out firing and that team meeting got everyone super inspired because Boogie was just like "LISTEN HERE I AM AN ALL TIME GREAT TALENT AND THIS ORGANIZATION SUCKS SO BAD THAT THEY ARE WASTING ME LETS FUCKING GO TURN UP WE WILL MAKE THIS WORK LETS GOOOOOO." (sorry that is partially me venting for how he is wasting away) And the team plays really well then they might steam roll the Pistons. But I don't think thats likely. The Pistons should win this game. The Kings mostly suck. But the Pistons are playing their 3rd game in 4 nights. That is hard to do.
What do you think? Think I'm stupid? Think the Kings players will all come out with mohawks? New uniforms? A boycot? Let me know! We all get smarter!
Edit: Darrun Collison is allegedly not playing tonight due to injury.