Tonight at 8:00pm EST, the Pistons will be in Minnesota to play against the Timberwolves. The Pistons are on one days rest after a loss to the Hornets on Wednesday, and the Wolves are on the 2nd night of a back to back after losing in Toronto last night.
The anointed ones kind of suck. The Wolves were a hot pick to make the playoffs and be super duper good, and they are far from it. Their offense has been very good so far with a offensive efficiency of 106.1, but their defense has been pretty awful with an efficiency of 108. Karl Anthony-Towns is the head of the team, averagin almost 22 points and 10 rebound per game, and doing it pretty efficiently as well. KAT can score outside and inside, and has good touch on passes as well. Andrew Wiggins has been much maligned, but he is scoring 22.4 points per game at decent efficiency, he has not been as good defensively but he is still a good defender. Wiggins scores in a variety of ways out of the midrange and the outside, with a canny post up game that draws tons of fouls. Zach Lavine can shoot and is a stupidly good athlete, but he doesn't defense so well. Gorgui Dieng can score inside a little bit with a decent jumper as well, just a nice well rounded big. Ricky Rubio can't score for anything but he can pass like crazy and also is a good defender. (although not as good defensively as he usually is.) Kris Dunn is, raw. That's honestly about all I can say about him right now. Bjelica is a pretty stereotypical Euro stretch 4. Shabazz Muhammad has a goofy bullying wing game although he has not played very much this year. Tyus Jones is a pretty run of the mill, if decent, backup point guard, and Cole Aldrich is the same but as a center. Their offense will test the Pistons, but the Pistons should have no trouble scoring points.
Matchups to watch:
KAT vs. Andre: I mean, duh. KAT is a really good up and comer, Andre is not percieved on the same level but is a freaking monster. Last year KAT never really got anything that Andre didn't give to him, but KAT has proven to be a good enough shooter that Andre will likely be allowed to actually cover him outside. Should be a fun duel, as Kat will likely try and go outside and Andre will try and stay inside.
Andre (and others) vs. Cleaning the defensive glass: The Timberwolves are a very good rebounding team, especially on the offensive glass. Andre and the rest of the Pistons will have their work cut out for them in keeping the defensive glass clean.
Pistons vs. Hitting open shots: If the Pistons had hit a few more of their good looks against Charlotte they very well could have won. There will almost certainly be plenty of good looks for the Pistons tonight, they just need to make sure they don't bail the Wolves out by missing a bunch of them.
Pistons vs. Lavine/Wiggins: I would guess KCP will go against Lavine and Morris will get Wiggins most of the night. Either way, KCP can only take one of them, and Morris (or whatever wing) will have a tough guard. I do like Morris against Wiggins because Morris is really good at going against post up wings without fouling them a ton, but I've still got some PTSD after what DeRozan did to the Pistons earlier this year.
Pistons vs. Not killing good feelings: There are lots of positive feelings around the Pistons right now. They got Reggie back while being at .500 and in the playoffs, easier schedule upcoming, etc. If they lose this game though everyone will overreact because it would be a bad loss. Just win so we can all be happy.
So in conclusion...
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
Andre dominates KAT on the inside.
Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith treat Rubio like Brandon Jennings did.
Wiggins has trouble scoring.
Run for the hills if:
KAT is raining death from outside.
Rubio is picking apart the defense with his passes.
The Pistons are missing their open shots.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Andre outplays KAT, by a fair margin.
Wiggins doesn't really do much.
KCP busts out of his recent slump.
Pistons offense is humming and getting good looks for everyone, and they ride it to a comfortable victory.
What do you think? Can Andre outplay KAT? Can the Pistons hit some open shots?