Tonight at 7:00pm EST the Pistons will be back home for a lone reprieve of a road stretch against really tough teams to host the Suns. The Pistons are on one day of rest after beating the Celtics on Monday, while the Suns are on the second night of a back to back after beating the Bulls last night, and this is also their 3rd game in 4 nights having travelled between every game.
This team is not very good. They have some young talent and also had a good stretch where they went 4-1 against bad teams right after they fired Earl Watson earlier in the year, and their two wins against teams that are not bad are against the Wizards and Timberwolves, both of which have been maddeningly inconsistent all year.
The Suns are not good on either end of the floor. They feature a miserable offensive efficiency of 101 points per 100 possessions which is 26th in the NBA and the second worst defense in the NBA with a efficiency of 108.7 points allowed per 100 possessions.
They are lead by Devin Booker, who is still just 21 years old and scoring 23 points per game. I'm not sure I believe he is as good as some people think but he is already very good and only going to get better. Beyond him they are mostly filled with guys who are young and maybe, kinda, good but not sure. T.J. Warren can get buckets in all sorts of goofy and fun ways, but he joins Booker in not really doing much defending or being very effective as passers and Warren doesn't shoot threes at all which is problematic for a forward in todays NBA. Tyler Ulis like, he's a point guard. Marquese Chriss is super athletic and has an interesting skill set for a big guy but he is still a ways off from forming it into something useful. Dragan Bender is big, can shoot, and has a nice skillset but he too is a ways away from really making it into anything, and Josh Jackson is a great athlete who can defend and pass but is seriously lacking in putting the ball in the hoop. Greg Monroe is with the Suns now but he is in a super inconsistent role early on. Tyson Chandler is old but can still defend and roll to the hoop, Alex Len might just not be very good beyond being tall and decently athletic. Mike James is a totally unremarkable point guard, Troy Daniels can shoot.
This team does not have the same sort of spooky young crew as some others in the league, but there is real talent here. They've already hit on one young guy with Booker, and if one of the other several youngsters they have can be a hit as well they will be in business going forwards, the question will be if they can do that or not. Regardless of the future though, this team is bad right now. Beyond Booker and Warren being able to fill it up offensively they have very little that they do well.
Matchups to watch:
Pistons vs. Booker: He is their most potent offensive weapon by a fair margin, and he also is big enough that Bradley may have a bit of trouble with him. If Booker is able to effectively shoot over Bradley and gets going he could keep the Suns in it.
Energy Level: The Pistons should be very well rested, the Suns are not. Honestly there is no excuse for this game unless some utter shenanigans occur. If the Suns come out slow then the Pistons may be able to make this a blowout very quickly.
Drummond vs. Repeat: The Suns are not as weak down low as the Celtics are, especially if Monroe plays, but it would be nice to see him follow up his best game of the year with another strong performance.
Harris and Jackson vs. Buckets: The Suns are baaaaad on defense. The Pistons two best offensive players should be able to be largely un-deterred from having big games.
Bench mobs: The Suns are bad and their bench is no different. Combine that with the blistering pace of the Pistons bench and the 3 games in 4 nights for the Suns and it could be a slaughtering.
Pistons vs. Letdowns: So far this year the Pistons have begun to break away from their (well earned) reputation of playing down to competition, but it will take more than 19 games to totally break it. Even if the Suns didn't suck this should almost be a schedule loss for them, but they also suck. The Pistons should win this game and do it pretty convincingly.
So in conclusion...
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
The Suns look tired and the Pistons are up by 20 at the end of the first quarter.
Devin Booker isn't able to just shoot over Bradley and is turning it over a ton.
The Pistons are scoring lots and lots of points.
Run for the hills if:
Booker or Warren start to can tough shots.
Greg Monroe revenge game.
The game comes down to the wire.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
This is a schedule loss for the Suns and it shows big time.
Several Pistons have big numbers for a half but don't get to take it much further.
The entire roster see's the floor.
The Suns are tired, and the Pistons are welcome to be home for a brief spell and it is a blowout in which the baby seal is effectively clubbed.
Pistons 118 – Suns 92.
What do you think? Will they play down to their competition? Will one of Booker or Warren have big games?