Opponent Scouting: Denver Nuggets. (37-15)
Tonight at 7:00pm EST the Pistons will be at the LCA to host the Denver Nuggets. The Pistons are on one day of rest following the terrible loss to the Clippers. While the Nuggets are on one day of rest (and third game in four nights) after a close victory against the Timberwolves.
The Nuggets are really good. They lead the Western Conference in record, and have the 4th best net rating in the NBA. They come in with a dominant offense that ranks 3rd in the NBA while their defense sits at 11th.
The Nuggets will be without shooting guard Gary Harris and Jamal Murray is questionable. Michael Porter hasn’t played all season and neither has Isaiah Thomas.
The Nuggets are led by Nikola Jokic who is as good as advertised and probably the best center alive. He is averaging 20 points, 10.5 rebounds, and 7.7 assists per game and doing it all on an absurd efficiency. His defense is still lacking, but he’s a good rebounder and is at least doing a better job of getting in the right places and playing with effort. Jamal Murray (if he plays) is a shooting guard in a point guard’s body, fortunately he plays with the best passing big man in history so he can do that. He’s a blowtorch scorer and streaky shooter.
Paul Millsap may be starting to decline, but his defensive abilities are likely a big reason that the Nuggets have found some competence on that side of the ball. Will Barton is a streaky scorer who can catch fire in a hurry. Young guns Makil Beasley and Monte Morris are both really good shooters and have really come on lately.
Mason Plumlee is still a skilled and smart big off the bench, Trey Lyles can still shoot from the 4 spot.
This team is very good. Jokic is an MVP caliber player, and they have a good roster around him. While not everyone shares this sentiment, I’ve always thought highly of Mike Malone as well.
Matchups to watch:
Jokic vs. Drummond: Classic clash of styles. Drummond should give Jokic plenty of issues with his aggressive athleticism, but we know that a center who can shoot hurts the integrity of the Pistons defense even when Andre plays it right, which he often doesn’t.
Pistons vs. Getting the taste out: That was a terrible loss. I still haven’t recovered. A win over the Nuggets would help.
Pistons vs. Various shooters: The Pistons have defended the 3 well, but they don’t always close out on shooters (glares at Blake) and the Nuggets require that. Will be a challenge.
Reggie Jackson vs. Being good: Jackson has had a good stretch recently, this is very good for all sorts of reasons. Helps the Pistons win games right now, makes him more tradable, makes people less angry. Please continue.
So in conclusion…
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
Blake Griffin is smashing all opposition.
Reggie Jackson is actually scoring.
The Pistons defense is holding up.
Run for the hills if:
The Nuggets offense starts to really hum.
The Pistons clearly ain’t got it after that loss. (hahahahaha they ain’t got it all season)
Jokic starts to hit open 3s.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Still not doing these yet. Not ready.