The Pistons will be in Denver to play against the Nuggets tonight at 9:30pm. Both teams are coming in on one day of rest following a loss on Thursday.
The Them: The Nuggets are not very good, to be quite frank. Their OffRtg. is a very pedestrian 101.5 and their DefRtg. is a very poor 106.0. Essentially this team is Hella young and it shows, but they play hard and have a solid coach. The wild card is that the elevation in Denver combined with a fast pace can cause issues for most teams. At the top of this team is Danilo Gallinari: this dude is flat out good, scoring 19 ppg on fairly good efficiency despite shooting literally some of the hardest shots in the NBA while getting to the line a ton. The second biggest threat is 6th man Will Barton. FEAR WILL BARTON. I admit to have only watched a few Denver games this year, but Will Barton has been crazy good every time. FEAR WILL BARTON. Kenneth Faried starts at PF. He can score a little bit around the basket and is a good rebounder, but not much of a defender or shooter. Gary Harris is having a bounce back sophomore season, showing some ability to score (in small amounts) with solid efficiency and can defend his position. Emmanuel Mudiay is crazy raw as a player, but he is a good athlete and can make some plays. Nikola Jokic rounds out the starting lineup as a goofy big who might be a decent defender, but has a lot of nice offensive skills (including shooting). King Joffrey (Lauvergne) is in a similar mold as Jokic as an interesting big who has some real offensive skills. Jameer Nelson is still chugging along as a competent player, although his shooting has dropped off this year (and he might not play anyways.) They have a few interesting but not all that good mish-mash of players at the end of the bench, including Jusef Nurkic who should be everyone's favorite because he swears at refs in other languages which is always cool. They rely heavily on Gallo’s ability to score really hard baskets, and they run the ball a lot. But they have a ton of young guys who are ripe for screwing things up on occasion.
Matchups to watch:
Pistons vs. Gallo: Marcus Morris figures to get most of the time on Gallo, and I feel pretty good about his ability to keep down good scorers at this point. But Gallo is a really good player and is the Nugget’s best player. Morris and the rest of the Pistons will need to be on top of their games to keep him from getting too many easy shots at the line, forcing him toward his worst tendency in crazy hard shots.
Pistons vs. Will Barton: FEAR WILL BARTON. Seriously though, this dude comes off the bench and just plain gets buckets. Hopefully he does not score too many.
Andre vs. Everybody: Ya’ll know the drill here. Andre will be attacking the rim all night, and the Denver bigs will have to try and keep him away. And while the reality is that the Nuggets have a few guys who can probably contend with Andre, none of them figure to be good enough to really go up against him.
Pistons vs. Leadership? Apparently the team needs a leader. I’m not sure about that but they do sometimes need a little extra fire under their butts. Hopefully someone has given them that for this game.
Ersan vs. Manimal: This is a funny matchup to me because it is 2 guys who play the same position, but play it totally differently. Should be kind of interesting to watch as 2 guys go against each other who are both capable of taking advantage of the others weakness.
So in conclusion...
Cackle with knowing glee if:
The young Denver bigs can’t compete with Andre.
The Pistons have an aneurysm of leadership.
Gallo is taking crazy hard shots and not getting to the line.
Run for the Hills if:
Gallo starts hitting ridiculous shots.
Nurkic says something mean to Andre.
WILL BARTON I’M NOT KIDDING ABOUT HIM.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Andre has another really nice game.
Jackson has a bounce back game.
We see Jennings/Jackson for the first time.
SVG tore the Pistons a new one and the Pistons put out their anger on the Nuggets in a blowout.
The Nuggets are not all that good, but they have some really nice pieces on their team so it should be at least a fairly watchable game. And if Will Barton starts hitting shots it will be VERY hard to watch.
What do you think? Think the Nuggets big men can handle Drummond? Think Barton is a chump? Let me know! We all get smarter!