Opponent Scouting: Minnesota Timberwolves (14-16)
Tonight at 8:00pm EST the Pistons will be on the road to play against the Timberwolves at the Target Center. The Pistons are on one day of rest after losing to the Bucks on Monday, while the Wolves are also on one day of rest after beating the Kings.
The Timberwolves are a different, and better, team without Jimmy Butler although they are still struggling in a brutal Western Conference. They come into this game with the 15th best offensive efficiency in the NBA by scoring 108.9 points per 100 possessions and the 16th defense by allowing 109 points per 100 possessions.
Karl Anthony-Towns is one of the best shooting big men to ever live and can score in a variety of ways, although he doesn’t do much defending or other important big-man stuff. Andrew Wiggins has rebounded a bit since the trade but is still not playing well. He’s still not playing high-level defense, doesn’t pass, and has been hugely inefficient with his scoring.
Depending on your view, the Derrick Rose revival is either one of the most inspiring or annoying things to happen this season. But he’s playing remarkably well, 18.5 points, 4.6 assists and shooting 47% from deep. He’s been coming off of the bench but Jeff Teague is hurt so he will start tonight.
Robert Covington is still doing his thing, he’s a good shooter and great defender. Taj Gibson is a tough defender and rebounder with good touch on the offensive end. If he shot enough to space the floor a bit he’d be the perfect role-playing 4.
Dario Saric is a swiss-army knife of skill and talent at either forward spot. Josh Okogie can jump very high, Tyus Jones is a great complimentary point guard, Gorgui Deng is large, plays hard, and has some offensive talent.
This team is maybe starting to round into better form, although their win over the Kings snapped a 4 game losing streak. They are forming more around KAT, if Wiggins can continue to rebound into form they will be a competitive team all season. Although the potential for Derrick Rose’s shooting to come crashing down has to be scary as well.
Matchups to watch:
Drummond vs. Towns: Towns has never beaten Drummond. 0-8. 0-9 if you include the all-star game last season. Towns hates to do big man stuff like box out, fight in the paint, and contest rollers. Towns’ shooting can give Drummond trouble on the other end, but Drummond has owned this matchup in the past.
Blake Griffin vs. Not turning it over: Ouch. The coaching has done him no favors, but Griffin must take better care of the ball. The Timberwolves are far from a stout defensive team, but Taj Gibson is a really tough defender who won’t make things easy on Griffin.
Jose Calderon vs. Not closing games: plz
Pistons vs. Derrick Rose: I mean. Yeah. He’s probably their 2nd best player right now. That’s where we are at. Pistons must contain him.
So in conclusion…
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
Karl Anthony Towns looks constantly annoyed as Drummond bashes him out of the way for dunks.
Blake Griffin is as angry about his last game as he sounded and is out for blood tonight.
The Derrick Rose regression starts tonight.
Run for the hills if:
Towns starts to rain 3 pointers. Also if he’s seen my incessant tweeting about how wimpy he is and plays hard. That’d be ironic.
Jose Calderon is on the floor at the end of the game.
Derrick Rose drops 50 points again.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
KAT is not going to break his streak this season.
Blake Griffin dominates.
Kennard scores 15+
Pistons ride big games from Griffin and Drummond to victory.
Pistons 113 - Timberwolves 100.