Opponent Scouting: Charlotte Hornets. (preseason)
PISTON BASKETBALL IS BACK!!!!!
Intro Stuffs/shameless plugs: I'm going to put this group of stuff at the start of my posts here for the preseason and the first few regular season games for anyone new to the deal.
I'm Joe, and I am thrilled to have you along for the upcoming Pistons season! There will be a post like this before every game all season long, more or less, and there will also be a recap after games. Nothing I say here should be seen as a end-all truth, but rather a starting point for real conversation about the game beyond just people yelling “DEETROIT BASKETBAALLL”.
If you want to support me then you can read any of my Pistons stuff on Hashtag basketball, all of my non-pre and post game stuffs will be there and I get a direct cut of ad revenue from my posts.
Tonight at 7:00pm EST the Pistons will play in their first preseason game of the year and their first time taking the floor in the LCA. They will be playing the Hornets, who have already played a game against the Celtics.
The Hornets bring back largely the same sort of team they had last year, with the major change being the insertion of Dwight Howard into the team, although he shouldn't figure to change what they do in a major way. Kemba Walker is not a super elite point guard but he is very good in all areas of the game, Nic Batum is a swiss army knife, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a defensive menace who can so some stuff in the paint on offense but still hasn't learned to shoot at all. Marvin Williams is a solid stretch 4 who also plays decent defense, and Howard still brings rebounding, rim protection and general paint presence. The Hornets also sport a decent bench featuring Cody Zeller and Frank Kaminsky up front for a pair of hard working white dudes, Jeremy Lamb can play a little bit as well. It isn't clear if they will really have anyone who can run back up point though. They added Michael Carter-Williams this offseason but he is still hurt I think, and rookie Malik Monk is hurt as well.
Overall the Hornets are a really well coached team who has several good players on the roster. They are unlikely to be great, but they should be a tough team all season. I didn't bother to look up to see who all is playing or isn't playing for them tonight. Obviously there will be bench dudes who were not mentioned here.
Matchups to watch:
Andre vs. Dwight: Even in the preseason, and even with Dwight not his former self. Still two physically dominant centers who will bang down low.
Stanley Johnson vs. Putting the ball in the basket: Even if it isn't through 3 point shooting, Stanley must find a way to get buckets occasionally this season. He is going to get the chance to start at small forward it appears, and if it is going to work he must improve on offense. Start showing it now.
Luke Kennard vs Defense: Kennard is almost certainly going to get some run given that it is preseason, but watch him defensively. If he already looks lost then it may be trouble, but FWIW there have mostly been good things said about him.
SVG vs experimenting: It's only preseason, but once again there has been talk of the Pistons getting funky with some lineups, perhaps SVG will start to maybe try some of them.
US VS BASKETBALL: WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
Luke Kennard is actually looking closer to Devin Booker than Kyle Korver
Andre actually hits a few free throws (plz Andre)
Run for the hills if:
Andre misses every free throw
Anyone gets hurt for any reason at all
Kennard already looks lost defensively
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Bradley already begins winning over fans
Anthony Tolliver plays some small forward
Everyone overreacts to something.
What do you think? What are you watching closest for?