Opponent Scouting: Philadelphia 76ers. 7-39

I watched the Suns and 76ers play basketball. Willingly. I’m not sure I ever want to watch the NBA again.

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The Pistons will be welcoming the Philadelphia 76ers to the Palace to play at 7:30pm EST tonight. The 76ers are on the second night of a back to back after a win last night against the Suns. The Pistons are on 1 days rest following a win against the Jazz on Monday night.

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The Them: The 76ers are bad, but now they seem to be just normal bad, not quite so historically bad. Last night’s game is literally the first time I have watched a game of theirs in entirety, so I’m not even going to pretend to know this team with any level of qualification. HOWEVA, here is what I gather: Ish Smith is actually a really good player and is actually pretty fun to watch. He does not shoot all that well or score in general, but he is super fast and the Sixers love to run in transition, so he fits well. He also has really great vision and passing which is reflected by 8 assists to just 2.8 turnovers per game. Jahlil Okafor is also pretty fun, but he is sick and is allegedly not going to play. Nerlens Noel is not exactly good on offense, but he is a better passer than he gets credit for and is capable of hitting some jumpers and he is a really solid defensive player (in a similar way as Andre on that end with a unique combination of rim protection and steals). Nik Stauskas has played like crap, but in theory is a good shooter (and played well last night FWIW). Robert Covington is a swiss army knife type who does a little of everything (and I’m still kind of bitter about the Pistons not grabbing him, he could be on the team instead of Bullock). And Jerami Grant can’t shoot, but he can score a little bit inside. Isaiah Canaan is a fairly competent guard off the bench, as is TJ McConnell. Hollis Thompson will probably start in place of Okafor and he can shoot a bit. Beyond that, I don’t know man. Carl Landry might play, he might not. Add in some other dudes who are not NBA players. HOWEVA, this is a team that is well coached, they run the ball every chance they get, and the play their asses off on defense. Now that they have an actual NBA caliber PG on the roster they are not such an easy off because of those things, but they are still bad.

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Matchups to watch:

  • Andre vs. Staying on the damn floor: This is an issue. Obviously. There has been a lot of talk about it on the sub lately, but rest assured I am still going to get a post detailing Andre and his exploits soon. For now, just know: it is frustrating, but this guy is so freaking good. He has to stay on the floor or this team dies.

  • Pistons vs. The Pace: The Pistons are not exactly a slow team, but they are not speedsters like the Sixers are, so it will be a bit of an adjustment for the Pistons in that regard. With that in mind though, the Pistons have some guys who are really good in transition and the Pistons are coming off a day of rest so they might be able to outrun the Sixers.

  • The New bench vs. Whatever the Sixers puke onto the court: The Sixers are not historically bad anymore, but they still probably don’t have a single real NBA player coming off their bench. The Pistons have several. The bench mob time figures to go heavily in favor of the Pistons.

  • Jackson/Jennings: Not a good opponent, a day of practice before hand. I think now is the time to try them out.

So in conclusion...

Cackle with knowing glee if:

  • It’s the Sixers, they don’t suck as much, but they still suck.

  • They look tired from last night.

  • Andre actually can stay on the floor.

Run for the Hills if:

  • Andre has to hit the bench for extended periods for any reason.

  • The Pistons are getting run up and down the floor.

  • The Sixers are within 10 points in the 4th quarter.

Opportunities for me to look stupid:

  • Andre has a bounce back game. A big one.

  • Greater Morris has some fun with squishy Sixers defenders.

  • KCP vs. Stauskas is very lopsided in favor of KCP.

  • Sixers never fall too far behind but the game is double digits most of the night for a fairly easy Pistons win.

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The Sixers suck. Ish Smith is really the only thing that kept me from gouging my eyes out watching. So if you want to skip a game, this is probably it. Either the Pistons win easily and it is boring, or the Pistons win a close one/lose and it will be totally miserable because losing to the Sixers is miserable.

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What do you think? Think Andre will hit a single free throw? How good is Ish Smith? Let me know! We all get smarter!