Opponent Scouting: Brooklyn Nets. (17-29)
Today at 4:00pm EST the Pistons will host the Brooklyn Nets for all three of us who are not watching football. The Pistons are on one day of rest after losing to the Wizards and the Nets are also on one day of rest following a victory over the Heat.
Given how recently the Pistons played the Nets there isn't much that has changed. They are still a bad team but not totally terrible despite the thrashing the Pistons gave them last time out. They sport the 27th offense in the NBA at 102.7 points per 100 possessions and the 17th defense at 106.2.
D'Angelo Russell made his comeback after a long injury absence but he was on a minutes restriction, it isn't abundantly clear whether or not he will still be on a restriction or not today. Russell had started to struggle quite a bit after a really good start to the season but he remains a good combination of shooting, size, and floor vision. Whether he ever learns to avoid turnovers and hit enough shots to be really good or not remains to be seen though. Spencer Dinwiddie is still here, drawing fouls, hitting clutch shots, and generally being awesome although he has cooled after a hot stretch as well. DeMarre Carroll is perfectly fine as a three and D guy and had a awesome game against the Heat, Allen Crabbe can shoot, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson defends and can score inside, Joe Harris can shoot, Jarrett Allen is young and bouncy, Tyler Zeller is mediocre but not terrible and they are easing Jahlil Okafor into playing time. Caris LeVert continues to be a really good swiss army knife type as well.
The Nets play fast and hard and are not afraid to do goofy stuff like play Hollis-Jefferson at center. My guess is they will come out with extra fire after getting blown out so badly by the Pistons last time out, and if Russell is allowed to play more minutes he will add another dimension for the Pistons to worry about.
Matchups to watch:
Drummond vs. Basically nothing: Yep the Nets really have no answer for Drummond. Allen is bouncy enough to at least jump with Drummond but he is still a baby and not nearly big enough yet. Drummond had a big game last time out and should be able to do so again.
Pistons vs. Keeping above .500: I don't usually buy into a lot of the mental things. These guys are professionals. One thing I do buy into is that there is a mental benefit to avoid falling below .500 on the year, to fall below .500 by losing at home to a bad team would be really bad.
Stanley Johnson vs. Playing: I LOVE STANLEY JOHNSON AND WILL NOT APOLOGIZE FOR IT. Reports are that he feels all the way right for the first time in a while which is also nice.
Tobias Harris vs. Getting right: 3 straight bad games for Tobias, and he must bounce back. The Pistons have no answer for him playing poorly offensively, he must hit shots one way or another.
Luke Kennard vs. Moar shots please: I'm officially on the “Run the offense through Kennard” movement with the bench mob. Ride or die with him shooting the ball, he has earned it.
The Backup point guard spot: Buycks played poorly in two straight and SVG went with Galloway for a bit against the Wizards, which actually worked. It will be interesting to see what they go with now.
So in conclusion...
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
Drummond has a shot at a 30/30 game.
The Nets are just as helpless offensively as they were last time out against the Pistons.
Tobias Harris shows up ready to play and keeps it up all game.
Run for the hills if:
Tobias Harris is missing shots.
Avery Bradley long twos.
The Nets are playing with a maniacal energy in response to getting booed off the court last time they met the Pistons.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Tobias Harris snaps out of whatever was wrong. (plz)
Drummond gets his first career triple double and it comes with 20 points and rebounds.
The Nets keep it fairly close with great defensive effort but struggle to score all game. Pistons win a close but not nail-biting game.
Pistons 107 – Nets 100.
What do you think? Can they stay above .500? Can Drummond dominate again?