Tonight the Pistons will be in Phoenix Arizona to play against the Suns at 9:00pm EST. The Pistons are on one days rest after getting walloped by the Clippers on Monday, and the Suns are on the 2nd night of a back to back after a loss to Portland last night.
The Suns are very young, and do not figure to be very good right now. That said, in this NBA a team that is “not very good” is not awful. The Suns have some real players on their team, TJ Warren has exploded out of the gate and suddenly looks like he may be the Suns' best player, he can score in bunches and in a wide variety of ways, including a mean floater to get to his 20.5ppg. Devin Booker has made good on the hype from last year and is averaging 23 points per game with a good mixture of shooting and quirky off the dribble moves. Eric Bledsoe has been healthy and looked pretty good at 19 points and 4.5 assists per game and is still a good defender, even if he is shooting the ball pretty poorly. Tyson Chandler is kind of old, but he is still doing his best to anchor an otherwise very leaky defense and also dunking home alley oops. Brandon Knight is in a diminished role as 6th man and has played really poorly so far, but he is bound to find his shot at some point. Jared Dudley is kind of fat but he communicates on defense and can shoot, Alex Len is still young and has potential but is not exactly playing well out of the gate. P.J. Tucker is an absolute bull dog who plays defense and rebounds, but is limited offensively, Marquese Chriss is super young but has actually looked alright as an athletic and fairly skilled PF. And Leandro Barbosa rounds out the back end of the rotation and he is still fast. There is a chance Chandler will not play due to a personal matter of some sort.
Essentially, this is a team that now looks to be truly bursting with potential, but right now they are not playing much defense and still lack a guy to really be a true facilitator in the offense, with Bledsoe's 4.5 assists leading the team, and Brandon Knight's 3 assists per game in 2nd. It will be interesting to see how this team progresses.
Matchups to watch:
Pistons vs. Making last game the outlier: Sometimes you get killed in the NBA and there is not much that can be done about it. The Pistons really got to win this game and if they could do it in fairly dominant fashion (as they have mostly done to weaker teams so far) it would be very good for the general vibe around the team, especially with a tough back to back coming up next, a win tonight would ensure them leaving the road trip at least 5-5.
Greater Morris vs. The Suns: Morris got a little bit extra hyped last year when he played the Suns, and he played very well in both games. Hopefully he can once again strike the correct cord of playing with that extra fire while still being in control of himself.
KCP vs. Booker: Devin Booker can freaking score, this is a fact now. He also does quite a bit of ball handling, which means that KCP will be back towards his strengths after failing to chase JJ Redick around screens in LA. KCP will have to be back to his usual self on defense to keep Booker in check. And on the other end, Booker is a mess still, so if KCP needs to at least not go cold from the field so he can hurt their weakest defender at least a little bit.
Beno vs. Knight: Brandon Knight is more than just the backup PG, and he has played poorly so far this year. But Beno figures to be matched up with Knight for pretty much all of his minutes, and if there is a matchup that could give problems for Beno, it would be Knight. It is also worrisome that Knight is due to break out from his slump.
Tobias vs. Dudley: Jared Dudley is not a bad defensive player, but he should have little chance to contain Tobias 1 on 1, and when they swap him for P.J Tucker they lose a lot of offense, and when they insert Chriss they lose a lot of team defense. Either way, if Tobias can cause Dudley to be so overmatched that it forces him off the floor it will be a problem for the Suns, because they kind of need his shooting and veteran smarts on defense.
Tyson Chandler vs. Playing: Chandler may not be playing tonight due to a personal matter. Without him, an already soft defense becomes a huge problem for the Suns.
So in conclusion...
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
Tobias is 10/10 at the half and he hasn't taken a single jump shot.
Devin Booker is committing lots of turnovers due to KCP hounding him.
Tyson Chandler does not play.
Run for the hills if:
TJ Warren is on fire.
Brandon Knight is putting Beno on Shaqtin a fool every possession.
Marcus is trying to hard.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Andre has a big game.
Marcus scores 20 points on good efficiency.
Tobias gets 30.
Pistons are back in shape and win comfortably behind some big games from the front 3.
What do you think? Can KCP hold down Devin Booker? Is TJ Warren for real?
Programming note: I'm real sorry there was no podcast yesterday. I went to vote after doing the recap, and it took longer than anticipated so I didn't have time to record it.