Tonight at 7:00pm EST the Pistons will host the Sacramento Kings at the LCA. The Pistons are on the second night of a back to back after beating the Bucks last night, and the Kings are on two days rest after losing to Boston on Wednesday.
So the Kings suck. They boast the worst point differential in the NBA by a wide margin, with their lone victory on the season coming against fellow bottom dweller Dallas. George Hill has inexplicably forgotten how to be good at basketball this year, Willie Cauley-Stein has pretty effectively carved himself a role as a solid two way big although he is not overly remarkable on either end of the floor. Buddy Hield is shooting really poorly so far this year but can get buckets in a variety of ways, Zach Randolph is old and playing like it. De'Aaron Fox is having the typical rookie hiccups of mistakes on both ends and not scoring all that efficiently, but he shows real promise, is exciting to watch, and is passing while avoiding turnovers at a really good rate for a 20 year old so far. Bogdan Bogdanovic can score a bit, although he is still feeling his way into his first NBA season to find his role. Garrett Temple is a spark plug off the bench who can shoot and plays frenetic defense, Skal Labissiere is super long and athletic and joins Fox as a guy who despite the expected growing pains is really impressive and shows great promise. Kosta Koufos still gets to play occasionally for some reason but he is still a decently versatile big in the same vein as Aron Baynes. Justin Jackson is exactly the sort of well rounded but kind of boring player he was projected to be out of college, and Vince Carter is finally starting to play like he is old as dirt.
This is a super young team, and their few veterans who were brought in to try and keep the team somewhat stable have all crapped the bed in big ways so far. In the end it doesn't matter much because the Kings are not worried about this year and their young guys continue to mostly show promise, but if some of their more established guys don't start to play better this could be a really long season for them.
Matchups to watch:
Pistons vs. Avoiding another letdown: It isn't a trap game on the same level as that one against the Lakers, but it still is one. Second night of a back to back after a really good and tough won victory the first night against a team the Pistons may overlook. On the plus side, the Kings are probably a lot worse than the Lakers and so bad that even if the Pistons play like crap they will still have a good chance to win.
Tobias Harris vs. Scoring: After a scorching start to the season, he has been a bit off the past several games. The Kings don't have anyone who figures to have any chance go guard him, and he didn't have a large load last night. If Tobias were to explode for another huge game, this would be the night for it.
Kings vs. Busting out of slumps: There is a chance that several of the Kings players who are playing poorly are going to stop playing so poorly at some point. In fact there is a good chance that happens. If suddenly George Hill decides to actually like, be good again, and Buddy Hield busts out of his slump then the Kings offense suddenly has some teeth to it.
Andre vs. WCS: Based on the play so far this year, this is the only individual matchup that doesn't really seem like an absolute wash in the Pistons favor, and even this one is a pretty sizable one. At the very least Cauley-Stein has the right combination of size and athleticism to compete with Andre.
De'Aaron Fox vs. Ish Smith: Two absolute speed demons coming off the bench at the point guard spot. Fox will play a lot more minutes than Ish does, but when they are both on the floor be sure not to blink. Also Fox is just an imminently watchable guy.
Pistons vs. Not blowing it: I already kind of covered this, but as I continually shifted through the numbers to find another matchup to watch I simply cannot see a way that the Pistons should lose this game, which means they probably will. Please break this stereotype guys.
So in conclusion..
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
Tobias Harris is scoring lots of points.
The Pistons are up by more than 20 by halftime.
The Kings don't have an epiphany and realize how to not be terrible.
Run for the hills if:
The Kings have had an epiphany and realized how to not be terrible.
A Pistons player gets injured in garbage time.
De'Aaron Fox decides to have his coming out game.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
The Pistons don't dick around and get a big lead at some point in the first half.
Tobias Harris scores a lot of points.
The Pistons let it get closer than they should in the second half at some point.
Other than a few brief moments where the Kings show life the Pistons are in control the entire game.
Pistons 117 – Kings 94.
What do you think? Is De'Aaron Fox better than Lonzo Ball? Will the Pistons reinforce the strereotype by blowing this game?