Opponent Scouting: Orlando Magic. (19-24)
Tonight at 7:00pm EST the Pistons will be hosting the Orlando Magic at the LCA. The Pistons are on one day of rest after losing to the Jazz, while the Magic are on two days of rest after beating the Rockets.
The Orlando Magic join the Pistons in the thrilling competition for the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference. The Magic come into the game with the 26th ranked offensive efficiency in the NBA and the 14th defense which combines for the 25th net rating in the NBA. The similarities between them and the Pistons is honestly almost painful.
The Magic do have some fun players, Nikola Vucevic still doesn’t play defense or draw fouls but he’s fully stretched his offensive game into a shooting, passing, offensive hub of a big man. Vucevic is, largely, the only thing standing between the Magic and total offensive incompetence. After Vuc Aaron Gordon is still here, he is a freak athlete, good defender, and can score a little bit but he’s starting to shape into a more athletic Marcus Morris which isn’t really what they wanted from him. Evan Fournier has struggled with his shot this season but he’s still a sweet-shooting wing.
D.J. Augustine is a low-volume, hyper-efficient scoring point guard but doesn’t do a ton as far as initiating offense. Jonathan Isaac is a really good defender who shows flashes of offensive talent but it largely remains flashes for now. Terrence Ross is a athletic and shooting wing off the bench who is making a run at 6th man of the year, Jonathon Simmons is tenacious and athletic. Khem Birch and Wesley Inwendu do their jobs.
The Magic have some decent players, but they are still severely lacking in overall creation/facilitation on offense. Their “it takes a village” approach to facilitating the offense is commendable, but their offense sucks. Their defense has a good base though, and they are mostly competitive.
Matchups to watch:
Drummond vs. Vucevic: Battle of styles. Vuc doesn’t much like to go inside for things, that’s where Drummond lives. Drummond will have to defend on the perimeter against Vuc. Should be fun.
Blake Griffin vs. Jonathan Isaac: Isaac is a really good defender and should give Griffin some real trouble on that end. If Isaac can have a decent game on offense (very hit or miss on that end) to make Griffin work it would really change the game.
Drummond vs. Asserting himself: The Magic are a really bad rebounding team. Nikola Vucevic doesn’t want to deal with Drummond on the glass. Drummond (and Griffin) should be able to dominate the boards on both ends.
Pistons vs. Limping along: The schedule is largely easier from here on out after a very tough two months. The Magic are one of the teams limping next to the Pistons in the standings. IF the Pistons want to make any real run for the playoffs it should start now.
So in conclusion…
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
The Pistons have 10 offensive rebounds by halftime.
Blake Griffin is back from his poor outing against Utah with a vengance.
The Pistons actually get some freaking foul calls that was so bad in Utah.
Run for the hills if:
Jonathan Isaac is holding up well against Griffin and even giving it back on the other end.
DJ Augustine revenge game.
Vuc’s shooting breaks the Pistons defense, because shooting bigs often have.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Khyri Thomas gets some more real minutes
The Pistons win. (plz)
What do you think? Can the Pistons get back on track? Should Khyri get more minutes?