Opponent Scouting: Brooklyn Nets. (0-0)
HELLO GOOD AND BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE ITS GAME-DAY!
Tonight the games count and the Detroit Pistons season officially gets underway. The Pistons will be hosting the Brooklyn Nets at the Little Caesars Arena with tipoff listed at 7:00 p.m. EST. It is both teams season opener.
The Nets are probably going to be very bad again, but they may be less bad than last year. Allen Crabbe got hurt in the Nets preseason game against the Pistons and will not be ready to go in this one and DeMarre Carroll is having surgery so he will be out as well. Shabazz Napier is out too.
As far as who we will see tonight, the Nets will be, primarily, lead by Spencer Dinwiddie and D'Angleo Russell, and Caris LeVert on the outside and young Jarrett Allen on the inside. Spencer Dinwiddie is not as good as a lot of people made him out to be, last season his shooting tanked later in the year and he remains a suspect defender, but he's a solid player who avoids turnovers and can create his own looks. Russell remains a question mark, he has so much potential for various things, but it just hasn't happened yet. He's a sweet-shooting player who has actually not shot very well in his career, it isn't clear what position he fits in, he doesn't get to the hoop, he turns the ball over too much, and he remains a poor defender. With all that said, Russell is a guy who is fully capable of getting hot and taking over a game. Jarrett Allen is still very young and could still stand to add some weight, but he's bouncy and fearless, blocks shots, and can finish in the lane.
For all the talk around the above guys, former Michigan Wolverine Caris LeVert may well be the Nets best player. He is a swiss-army-knife on both ends of the floor. He can shoot, handle the ball, and pass. He's got good feel on the offensive end to be a secondary ball-handler.
Beyond those guys, the Nets are mainly a compilation of random-types who are just kind of here. Ed Davis is a really good backup center who plays hard every minute he's out there, Joe Harris is a really good shooter,Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (who is listed as questionable in this game) is a good defender and crafty inside scorer even though he can't really shoot, Kenneth Faried is here and he can still rebound. Jared Dudley is around, I'm not sure how much he will play but he might.
This is a collection of some decent players, some of whom are young, and they are well coached. They are likely going to be well outside the playoff race, but they are going to be fairly competitive on most nights. And if one or two of their younger guys can pop they could be better.
Matchups to watch:
Andre vs. Allen: This is the premier matchup in this game. Drummond is much bigger that he should mostly handle Allen, but Allen isn't afraid to compete and he can jump with Andre. If Andre is able to really lock down Allen and keep him from being impactful then the Nets will have a rough time.
Blake Griffin vs. Smash: The Nets don't really have a good option for defending Griffin. With the injuries to Carroll and Hollis-Jefferson they will likely put Kenneth Faried on Griffin, and if they don't do that it will be someone either very small or very old. Griffin should be able to largely do what he wants in this game.
Pistons vs. D'Lo: Russell may or may not end up putting it together this season, but even if he doesn't, he is a guy who can score in bunches. When Russell gets cooking the Nets suddenly become a dangerous offensive team, so it will be important for the Pistons to make sure he doesn't get going.
Backup 4 minutes: Will they give Ellenson a shot? Will Jon Leuer play there? Will they go small? Will they just play Blake every minutes of the game?
So in conclusion...
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
Blake is mashing various Nets defenders into a fine paste.
Andre is able to control Jarrett Allen.
D'Angelo Russell doesn't ever really get going.
No one gets hurt.
Run for the hills if:
Russell starts to hit shots.
Anyone gets hurt.
The Pistons offense is super stagnant and predictable.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Blake scores 30 points.
Stanley Johnson (he is questionable) plays.
Henry Ellenson gets minutes.
The Nets have no answer for Blake Griffin and the Pistons coast to a opening night win.
Pistons 105 – Nets 90.
What do you think? Can the Nets stop Blake? Will one of the Nets perimeter guys get going? What will the rotation be?