Opponent Scouting: Toronto Raptors. (49-20)

Today at 4:00pm EST the Pistons will be hosting the Toronto Raptors at the LCA. The Raptors are on two days of rest after beating the Lakers and the Pistons are on one day of rest after beating the Lakers.

The Them:

The Raptors are still very good. Largely unchanged from when the Pistons played them last. The main difference is that (I believe) Kawhi Leonard is set to play tnight while Kyle Lowry is actually questionable for the game.

Kawhi Leonard is fully in his own as an isolation scorer but he hasn’t been quite as good as his reputation in other areas this season. Leonard is still a great defender and capable of turning it up to his high levels but is often not there, and he hasn’t improved as a passer. I like the way Zach Lowe described it, there’s the Raptors offense, and there’s Kawhi’s offense. They still haven’t found great synergy. Make no mistake though, Kawhi is still brilliant.

Assuming Lowry plays he’s still awesome, great passer and a good defender who will bomb long guns off the dribble. Pascal Siakam is a great defendre and good scorer and passer, he still doesn’t shoot a lot from deep but does everything else and when he does shoot he does alright. Danny Green is rejuvenated this season and back to being one of the premier 3 and D guys in basketball. Marc Gasol is big, strong, and skilled. He’s struggled a little bit to find a groove since the trade but he will be fine. Jeremy Lin is here but he’s been terrible since getting picked up. Fred VanVleet is expected to return to action today, he’s a good shooter and tough defender, if Lowry is out I’d expect him to start or at least get the majority of point guard minutes.

OG Anunoby is a tough defender, Norman Powell has refound some confidence this season as a athletic wing player. Eric Moreland is here! Serge Ibaka is probably still suspended I think?

The Raptors are great, but they’ve often felt as though they were not quite right. It will be fascinating to see if they are going to get going fully.

Matchups to watch:

  • Pistons vs. Kawhi: The Pistons have no big wing defenders, Kawhi Leonard is a big wing scorer who knows how to use his size. i wonder if they will try and give GR3 some run or just toss Bruce Brown into the fire. Idk, maybe have Andre try and guard him.

  • Andre Drummond vs. Dominating: Despite foul-trouble Andre Drummond was the best player on the floor the last time these two teams met, especially with Kawhi Leonard back the Pistons will need that kind of performance from him once again.

  • Another please: Both of the first two matchups between these two teams were reat, they also played a brilliant one at the end of last season. One more and I may say screw it and start hoping the Pistons face the Raptors in the playoffs.

  • Pistons vs. Getting right: Despite winning against the Lakers, the Pistons have not been right the last 3 games. A pair of terrible blowouts and a ugly win over a short-handed Lakers team. A strong performance here would go a long way towards putting down some fears and maybe proove that the last 3 games were just a slump and not something more.

So in conclusion…

Wink knowingly at your friends if:

  • Andre is owning everything.

  • The game is tied with a minutes left to play.

  • Blake Griffin is back in destroyer mode.

Run for the hills if:

  • “Kawhi still hasn’t missed a shot they have no answer for him.”

  • The Raptors use a zone.

  • The Pistons fail to score 80 points.

Opportunities for me to look stupid:

  • Pistons score more than 80 points.