Tonight at 7:30 p.m. the Pistons will be welcoming the Charlotte Hornets to the Palace for the first game after the all star break. Both teams are obviously on a lot of rest following the break.
The Hornets have struggled since a good start all the way to a 24-32 record which is far below where they were certainly hoping to be. However they are probably better than their record suggests as their offensive efficiency sits at 105, and their defensive efficiency sits at 104.6 (it isn’t very often a team is 8 games below .500 and still has a clearly positive net rating.)
The Hornets are lead by Kemba Walker, who got his first ever all star bid this year and is more than deserving of it as he is averaging 22.5 points and 5.5 assists per game, and doing it very efficiently. He has a mean array of crossovers and hesitation moves to slice into the lane, and has become a dangerous shooter who is capable of nailing killer pullup 3s off the dribble. Nicolas Batum is good, but perhaps a little bit over his head as the number 2 option and really the only other legitimate options beyond Kemba. He is still a good passer and can score, he just has not been as efficient as he had normally been in his career. Cody Zellar might not play but he is a great glue guy who plays hard, sets good screens, and probably has a very high grit per 36. Marvin Williams has regressed after a career year last year, but he is still a good 3 and D 4 who can shoot and play defense. MKG is still a pretty poor offensive player who can’t shoot at all, but he can get to the hoop and is also a good rebounder and excellent defensive player. Frank Kaminsky has yet to fully make good on his skills as he continues to be a very so-so shooter, but he passes the ball well and plays hard, generally doing the big white guy things. Marco Belinelli is a good shooter and not a ton else. Jeremy Lamb’s shot has fallen way off with his outside shot, but he is long and can get some buckets occasionally. Roy Hibbert and Spencer Hawes are gone, but the guy who they traded him for (Miles Plumlee) is hurt. So I honestly have no clue what exactly they plan on doing for the backup big spots beyond Kaminsky, especially if Zeller doesn’t play.
The Hornets are probably better than their record, but they have some real issues. Kemba is awesome, but there just isn’t a lot of playmaking on the team beyond him.
Matchups to watch:
- Andre vs Potentially nothing: If Zeller is out, the Hornets will be fielding a center group of: Frank Kaminsky. Even if Zeller is playing his is probably not 100%. Andre should have a good chance to get some really good work done, and he has done that to the Hornets this year even when they are healthy.
- Reggie Jackson vs Being dope: In the last game before the break, Reggie Jackson was looking like himself again after a rough month of February. Hopefully the break has been good for him and he is able to come out firing after the break and be ready to finish the year strong.
- KCP vs Remembering how to Shoot: KCP played very poorly since coming back from injury, like Jackson, we have to hope that it was just lingering problems from when he was injured and not some larger problem or just simple regression.
- Pistons vs Kemba: Kemba Walker is the Hornets’ best player and pretty much everything that they do offensively is based around him. It will be a team effort to keep him contained and the Pistons will have to do it if they want to win.
- Pistons vs Not making me sad: WIN THE GAME.
So in conclusion…
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
- Andre goes full Godzilla
- Reggie and KCP start playing well.
- FINISH STRONG.
Run for the hills if:
- Kemba is destroying the Pistons is all of the ways that he is capable of destroying.
- KCP can’t throw the ball into the ocean while standing ankle deep.
- FINISH WEAK. PANIC. TRADE EVERYONE.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
- Andre has close to a 20/20 game.
- Jackson and KCP both play well.
- Kemba is contained but Batum has a nice game.
- Pistons ride a monster night from Andre and good contributions from the backcourt to a 99 – 86 victory.
What do you think? Can KCP remember how to shoot? Can Andre dominate?