Opponent Scouting: Orlando Magic. (4-6)
Tonight at 7:00pm EST the Pistons will be on the road to play the Orlando Magic. The Pistons are on one day of rest after losing to the Heat on Monday. The Magic are also on one day of rest after beating the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Magic are not good. They have a 4-6 record which would perhaps suggest that they may finally be competitive but there isn’t actually much there. They come into the game with the 29th offensive efficiency in the NBA by scoring just 101.7 points per 100 possessions, and the 22nd defensive efficiency by allowing 110.5 points per 100 possessions. That comes out to a net rating of -8.8 which is 27th in the NBA.
Aron Gordon is off to a good start again as an athletic wing who can shoot a bit and destroy people on defense. Evan Fournier has shot poorly to start the season but he’s a talented scorer and not a terrible defender. Nikola Vucevic continues to quietly chug along, scoring almost 18 points per game at an efficient pace while dishing 3.7 assists and grabbing 10.5 rebounds. DJ Augustine can still shoot and occasionally score in bunches.
Terrance Ross is an athletic wing who can shoot and occasionally dunk but not a lot else. Jonathan Simmons is a tenacious athlete who attacks on offense and defense, Jarian Grant is a point guard and rookie Mo Bamba is very tall. Jonathan Isaac is a good defender but he’s hurt.
The Magic are basically the same as they have been for years now. They have some interesting pieces, but they don’t fit that well together, it’s not clear how well coached they are, and they are mostly bad.
Matchups to watch:
Pistons vs Eternal Sadness: If the Pistons lose this game then it is officially a free-fall. Win this game and the next one against the Hawks and they can at least hold onto the idea of taking care of business against bad teams. Start losing them and the one positive talking point is gone.
Drummond vs. Vucevic: They are basically polar opposites, but it’s the best matchup. Vucevic will challenge Drummond to defend him outside, Drummond’s physical inside game will give Vuc trouble.
Blake Griffin vs. Whatever the Magic do with him: With Jonathan Isaac out I would guess Aaron Gordon takes him, but that’s a size mismatch. Gordon is big, strong, and athletic though. Blake may need to work a bit.
Pistons bench vs. Producing some more: Galloway got hot in the last game, Ish Smith plays a ton of minutes, but the Pistons bench units have not done well this season. They have to pull it together a bit.
So in conclusion…
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
Andre is pummeling the Magic inside.
The Magic are as bad as the advanced stats say.
The Pistons defensive scheme gets its first great result of the season.
Run for the hills if:
Evan Fournier decides to bust out of his slump in a big way.
Blake Griffin has trouble with scoring.
The Pistons bench is still struggling.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Andre Drummond 20/20
Reggie Jackson scores 25.
Evan Fournier scores many points.
The Magic are as bad as the numbers suggest. Pistons roll to easy win. (plz)
Pistons 120 - Magic 103.