Opponent Scouting: Golden State Warriors. (49-23)

Tonight at 8:30pm EST the Pistons continue their west-coast swing with a game against the Warriors at Oracle Arena. The Pistons are of course on the second night of a back to back after losing a close game to the Blazers last night, as are the Warriors after getting blown out by the Mavericks last night.

The Them:

The Warriors are phenomenal. The great irony is that everyone has spent a lot of time talking about how the Warriors haven’t looked quite right all season and yet they are just a half-game out of first place in a brutal Western Conference and have the best offensive efficiency in basketball. That said, when compared to their past heights, they have been a bit off. While their offense is tops in the league, their defensive efficiency is just 14th. That is still good for the second best net-rating in basketball though.

Nothing is set it stone yet, but Steve Kerr has said that they might rest some guys today after having rested some last night against Dallas as well. But they haven’t said for sure yet so this preview will assume everyone who isn’t hurt is playing, just know that a couple might sit out.

The Warriors are of course led by Steph Curry, he’s the greatest shooter to ever live and it isn’t close, the man is shooting 43% from deep on 12(!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) attempts per game. As he marches towards yet another season of scoring 25+ per game on a TS% above 60%, (and he’s typically been well above that) he has a legit claim to having the highest offensive peak in league history. (AS AN ASIDE: Some people still struggle a bit with TS%. It’s an arbitrary cut-off point but anything over 60% is ELITE efficiency. Just for comparison, LeBron has a similar peak in volume and efficiency and so did Jordan and neither were as efficient as Curry. I enjoy getting jokes off about Steph and the Warriors as much as anyone, but he’s now up to 6 straight years doing this. Steph may be the greatest PG to ever play his position and even as we get our jokes off please appreciate that.)

After Stephen Curry they have another former MVP in Kevin Durant, he’s a monstrous scorer who can do it in a variety of ways even if his long-ball has been a bit off this season. Durant is also can be an elite defender when he locks in. Klay Thompson is a great shooter who has pretty much fully recovered from a tough start to the season. He’s still getting away from his game a bit more than they’d like but he’s largely the non-dribbling scoring maniac that he always has been. Draymond Green is a great passer and defender, but his scoring woes have really started to catch up to him. DeMarcus Cousins is a bulldozer but has shot poorly so far.

Andre Iguodala is a great defender when he turns it on, an iffy shooter but awesome passer and good finisher. He’s old enough at this point that he doesn’t have it locked all the way in all that often, he’s still good even when not all the way on but you never know when he might have a game where he turns up and is awesome. Shaun Livingston is a tall, long, and tough defender who will post up anyone. Kevon Looney is mostly just a big body but he does some stuff decently. Andrew Bogut is here again.

The Warriors have been behind their normal standards, but even then they are still one of the best teams in basketball, they also always have the threat of turning it on to the point where they obliterate anyone in their way.

Matchups to watch:

  • Energy: Both teams played last nigh. Pistons are surely disappointed about the close loss, Warriors probably upset about the blowout loss. Decent chance one team just doesn’t have it tonight.

  • Pistons vs. Durant: Yeah I don’t even want to think about who’s going to guard him. In a perfect world it might be best to stick Griffin on him and maybe hide Jackson on Green, but Griffin’s closeouts mean that you kind of have to put him on Green. Durant will probably slaughter them.

  • Drummond vs. Cousins: Cousins has mostly looked good, Drummond can give him issues though. A key will be fore Drummond to avoid foul-trouble because the Pistons will stand no-chance defensively without him to help put out the fires that are inevitable to pop up.

  • Pistons vs. Bouncing back: If they can win tonight then they are back stabilized and keep themselves at a comfortable distance from Miami. Lose and things are too close for comfort.

So in conclusion…

Wink knowingly at your friends if:

  • A lot of Warriors rest and they clearly don’t care about this game.

  • The Pistons keep up their strange tendency to play great against the Warriors.

  • Andre Drummond avoids foul-trouble.

Run for the hills if:

  • The Warriors are forcing Griffin to close out on shooters.

  • The Pistons look gassed.

  • Steph Curry, after getting a night off, wants to remind everyone that he can slaughter fools.

Opportunities for me to look stupid:

  • Pistons win.