Opponent Scouting: Atlanta Hawks. (2-9)
Tonight at 7:00pm EST at the LCA the Pistons will host the Atlanta Hawks. The Pistons are on one day of rest after beating the Pacers on Wednesday, while the Hawks are on three days of rest after losing to the Celtics.
The Hawks are bad, real bad. Their offense has a miserable efficiency of 100.9 points per 100 possessions, good for 24th in the NBA, but don't worry they make up for it with the 23rd worst defensive efficiency in the NBA at 107.1 points allowed per 100 possessions.
The Hawks do have a couple of bright spots early in the season. Dennis Schroder is quietly scoring 22.6 points per game on a 56.4% TS% with 6.6 assists against 2.9 turnovers. Even if it is for as bad a team as the Hawks are, those are pretty impressive stats and he is a legitimate impact player. Beyond him, Taurean Prince looks like a real player as a 3 and D type of guy, and John Collins is a bouncy athlete who has looked alright for a 20 year old. Other than that, it is pretty ugly for the Hawks. Kent Bazemore has doubled down on his bad year last year and is shooting below 30% from three and below 40% from the field. Marco Belinelli can still shoot but not a whole lot else, Dewayne Dedmon can do some basic big guy stuff, Malcolm Delaney is a late bloomer who played in Europe for a while, and he can shoot a bit, Luke Babbit can shoot. They have several injuries to guys like Ersan Ilyasova, Miles Plumlee, and Mike Muscala, and I will be completely honest and say that some of the guys at the end of the bench who will likely play in their stead, I have no idea about.
Dennis Schroder can really ball, but other than that there is a serious lack of anything on this team, especially with several guys being hurt.
Matchups to watch:
Pistons vs. Dennis Schroder: Once again, he is the guy to watch on the Hawks. My guess is that Avery Bradley will spend most of his night guarding the speedy German which is good. The reality is that the rest of the team is so sad-sack that as long as Schroder is kept from shredding the Pistons it should be fine and the Pistons have the tools to do that I think.
Andre Drummond vs. The Fishing Village: The Hawks are not exactly overflowing with effective big guys. Dedmon isn't totally useless but there is a reason he's been a backup most of his career. Andre should have a good chance to completely own the paint on both ends, which should mean a big night.
Andre Drummond vs. Free Throws: He went 0-7 in the last game. This was always going to happen at some point this year. Whether or not his new-found abilities stick is going to be decided by his ability to bounce back mentally after a bad shooting night.
Bench Mob vs. Destruction: The Hawks were not a deep team to begin with, they have several injuries now. The Pistons bench should have a good chance to have an absolute hayday.
Pistons vs. Not playing down: They are starting to get rid of it in the early season, but this team still has a history of playing down (or up) to competition. Hot start aside, there is no reason for the Pistons to lose to this Hawks team and beating them badly would be another step to show that the Pistons have grown.
So in conclusion..
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
Avery Bradley is keeping Schroder from doing much, and the Hawks are not scoring at all as a result.
Andre Drummond has a double double in the first half.
The Pistons are winning by a lot of points at the end of the first quarter.
Run for the hills if:
Ghost of Pistons past arrives and the Pistons play like trash.
Schroder is pouring it on.
The game is anything other than a comfortable victory for the Pistons.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Schroder gets his numbers but not much else.
Andre hits his free throws. (plz)
The Pistons bench has some absurd +/-
The Pistons control the game from start to finish for a blowout win.
Pistons 115 – Hawks 90.
What do you think? Can the Pistons contain Schroder? Will the Pistons play down to competition?