Opponent Scouting: Atlanta Hawks. (6-21)
Tonight at 7:30pm EST the Pistons will be in Atlanta to play against the Hawks. The Pistons are on one day of rest after losing to the Nuggets on Tuesday. The Hawks are also on one day of rest after losing to the Cavs. The Hawks are also undefeated.
The Hawks are bad. They feature the 21st offense in the NBA at 103.5 points per 100 possessions, while their defense is the 29th with 108.7 per 100 possessions for the 27th net rating of -5.2.
The Hawks are lead by Dennis Schroder, who is probably the best player on any of the worst few teams in the NBA. He scores just over 20 points with 6.4 assists and pretty good efficiency of both. He is almost certainly having to do more than he really should be but he is good. Beyond him, Taurean Prince is a good athlete who is actually shooting the ball pretty well this year, Kent Bazemore has found some three point shooting back but is still struggling but he can still play defense. Marco Belinelli is a good shooter still, Dewayne Dedmon is able to do very basic things as a big man (but is out). John Collins is really athletic and looks great as a young guy, Ersan Ilyasova can shoot, Malcolm Delaney can do some basic stuffs as a point guard, Luke Babbitt can shoot. This team has very few guys who scare you. The Hawks are bad, but they are also undefeated.
Matchups to watch:
Pistons vs Offense: The last game against the Nuggets was very bad. The Pistons need to find their offense back one way or another.
Pistons vs. Containing Schroder: He is the Hawks best player by a mile, and it will take a team effort to keep him in check. If you keep him in check you beat the Hawks, if you don't, you probably still beat the Hawks but they have a chance.
Bench mob vs. Getting out in transition: Opponents have done a really good job of making Ish Smtih lead units play in the half-court. That needs to change for the bench mob to get back to its dominant ways.
ULEASH THE BOBAN: I'm fully on the Boban train now. I don't care if the other team has a center who can shoot, that guy has to guard Boban on the other end. He is a great safety valve to have when the bench mob has to play out of the half-court. Put him on the floor.
Pistons vs. Eternal sadness: The Pistons are coming off one of the most brutal stretches of scheduling of any team in the NBA. As frustrating as a losing streak is, it was not implausible before it happened. If they can turn around and kill the Hawks and beat up on bad teams for the next couple of weeks, they will be just fine. Otherwise they might actually just suck and I will be sad.
So in conclusion...
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
The Pistons actually can score.
Boban is punking fools.
Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond bounce back and have good games.
Run for the hills if:
Dennis Schroder starts scoring in bunches.
The Pistons cannot create offense at all.
The Pistons lose.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
The loss to the Nuggets wakes up the team.
The Pistons smother the Hawks from the outset.
Pistons 105 – Hawks 77.
What do you think? Can they bounce back? Is eternal sadness upon us?