Opponent Scouting: New Orleans Pelicans. 21-33.
Tomorrow afternoon the Pistons will be welcoming the Pellies to the Palace for a game at 3:30pm EST. The Pistons and the Pellies are both coming off of 1 days rest, the Pellies beat the Sixers and the Pistons lost to the Wizards.
The Them: The Pellies are not quite as bad as their record or ratings are due to their horrific start. And since the bad start (caused largely by having literally everyone injured) they have been about a .500 team. There are still some very real issues with this team, but no more than any other mid tier team. They begin and end with Anthony Davis obviously, and just in case you've been living under a rock for a while, he is pretty good. He can do a lot of different stuff, but his offense is still primarily most effective as a killer pick and pop/pick and roll guy, although his venture into 3 point land has been not overly successful. (To be clear he can obviously do a lot more than just that, but that is still his bread and butter it seems to me) Davis also is a really good and versatile defender who can protect the rim and go out into the perimeter to defend little dudes. Everyones favorite fake Piston Ryan Anderson can score and shoot but can't defend to save his life. Jrue Holiday does not play a whole lot but is still a really good player who can score, pass, and defend like crazy. And the fact that he has actually played (well) in the majority of the Pelicans' games this season is very good news for the future of the franchise by the way. Tyreke Evans is still bullying his way to the hoop and is actually starting to shoot a bit from deep. Eric Gordon is still pretty disappointing from what he was thought of not that long ago but the dude can still shoot. Omer Asik might actually be a potato now, and if he was then I don't think anyone would notice. Norris Cole is still doing his thing as a solid backup PG who can occasionally score in spurts and be a super pesky defender. Beyond that, it is kind of bleak for the Pellies. A collection of guys who might be ok, Alexis Ajinca is freaking huge, Dante Cunningham and Alonzo Gee are ok wings. They play fast, and not a whole lot of defense. Davis, Evans, and Holliday are fun but there is not a whole lot else here. But FWIW, they are fun enough that the Pellies are interesting to watch for the most part.
Matchups to watch:
Andre Drummond vs. WATCH THIS FREAKING GUY PLAY HOLY CRAP: I'm not trying to be mean or anything like that, people express opinions, that is the whole point of a place like this. But I will be blunt about this. For the first time this season, I'm actually angry. A fire is really lit under me to power through more old games this season to collect more pictures for my post on him, (was going to try and do a ton of it last Friday but then Tobias happened and yeah Andre took a back seat) but until then. Seriously, people. Watch this guy. The Pistons have got literally the best player since Grant Hill and possibly since Isaiah Thomas on the floor right now, blossoming right before our eyes. Remember not long ago he did literally nothing but dunk, now he can post up a little, he throws smart passes, he fouls less, and is putting up career highs in damn near every category. And yet people seem mostly interested in complaining about him. And that bothers me, not because people are disagreeing or anything, he is very flawed and it is good to discuss his shortcomings, but at least sit the hell back and watch this guy and appreciate him.
Drummond vs. Davis: They won't go against each other that much because Davis generally plays power forward, but they probably will some. And it should be very fun, two young and super athletic guys duking it out. Andre is a lot stronger and so he should have an advantage on the inside, but Davis is better on the outside.
Pistons vs. Stopping Davis: If the Pistons start Tolly again, this could be a real issue. Actually even if they start Harris or Morris or whoever. There is no one who the Pistons have (other than Andre) who has much chance of competing with Davis. If they can just keep him in some form of controlled the Pistons will probably be in good shape.
SVG vs. Rotations: Both Dmo and Thornton are expected to play (from what I have seen at least) This will throw a couple of real changes into the rotation regardless of how SVG ends up trying to use them. It will take some time to learn what lineups work best and what the best way to use everyone is, but the less time it takes the better chances the Pistons have at the playoffs so they have to get it in gear quick.
Steve Blake vs. Guarding literally anyone: Plz. Find a way. I will just have to accept that SVG is going to play Blake (for God knows why) so somehow he has to figure out a way to not allow whoever is the opponents backup PG to score almost at will.
Reggie vs. Bounce back: Reggie had a off night against the Wizards. He has a tendency to come back really strong following those games, so I would look for one here.
Cackle with knowing glee if:
You come to the full realization that Andre Drummond is awesome and this team would freaking suck without him.
Tobias Harris is punking fools again.
Reggie goes full God mode.
Run for the hills if:
Davis is killing the Pistons in a wide variety of ways.
Tyreke Evans is bullying KCP inside.
The Pistons clearly have a chemistry issue due to the new pieces.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Andre outplays Davis.
Harris does indeed, punk fools.
Thornton has his random big game and then get everyone way to excited about him because he has done that his whole career.
Pistons have a real fire in them following the loss, and they end up freaking killing the Pellies.
What do you think? How will SVG use the new guys? Let me know! We all get smarter!
P.S. Sorry about no recap and also falling off the season recaps. Tobias trade killed a lot of the season recaps but also we got really busy at work and I got a chance to pick up a lot of extra hours and since I don't get paid for this I could not really justify not taking the hours.
P.P.S. I really want to stress, if you have issues with Andre and want to voice them that is 100% good. The whole point of these places are to voice your opinion. But just be able to step back and realize how freaking lucky we are that following a game where he has 11 points, 13 rebounds, 2 steals and a block, people find it in them to complain about him. It speaks to how absurdly good he is most of the time.
EDIT: I'm an idiot. Evans is out the rest of the season. I thought he just didn't play last game. This is what happens when I watch games on mute and while doing other things.