Tonight at 7:00pm EST the Pistons will be welcoming the Utah Jazz to Detroit. The Pistons are on two days of rest after losing to the Nets, and the Jazz are on one day of rest after losing to Atlanta.
The Utah Jazz are not very good, but they are not totally hopeless and overmatched most of the time. They sport the 18th best offense in the NBA at 104.4 points per 100 possessions, along with the 14th best defense at 105.4 points per 100 possessions.
They are lead by rookie phenom Donovan Mitchell who is scoring nearly 20 points per game and doing it on good efficiency. Rodney Hood may or may not play tonight after missing his last two games, but he is also a good and efficient scorer who can really shoot threes (38.6% on 7 attempts!) but has a tendency to disappear at times. Rudy Gobert is limited offensively but he is still the best rim protector in the business and generally a world class defensive player. Derrick Favors has kind of fallen off but can still score inside and not a bad defender. Ricky Rubio is still a great passer but his attempts to try and score more for an offensively challenged team this year has gone very poorly. Joe Ingles is a crafty old white guy, Alec Burks is a slasher off the bench. Joe Johnson has shot really poorly this year and may finally be old, Jonas Jerebko is still the same hustle and kind of skilled guy.
This team plays hard on both ends, Their defense will always be tough as long as Rudy Gobert is patrolling the paint and it is usually up to them to try and scrape out enough points to make it work.
Matchups to watch:
Drummond vs. Gobert: Fresh off an all star snub, Drummond will have to be ready to go tonight. Gobert has the size to bother Drummond on both ends. Also given that these two are their teams respective best players it means that this matchup likely will play a big role in who wins the game.
Kennard vs. Mitchell: Yeah they will probably not guard each other and Mitchell has a way larger role regardless. But still, you know that Kennard hears everything, and Mitchell is still salty the Pistons didn't draft him. Both guys likely have some extra for this one.
Bradley vs. Mitchell: Good news for the Pistons though is that Mitchell will be trying to score on Avery Bradley most of the night, which is not usually a great proposition.
Pistons vs. Not settling: Without Jackson, the offense already has a terrible tendency to take a lot of jumpers, with Gobert in the paint that tendency is likely to be amplified and the Pistons must fight that.
Stanley Johnson vs. Being awesome: INJECT BENCH MOB BEN SIMMONS STRAIGHT INTO MY VEINS BABY
So in conclusion...
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
Kennard outplays Mitchell.
Drummond officially has a chip on his shoulder.
Stanley Johnson really has found something with the bench crew.
Run for the hills if:
Mitchell has 20 points at half time.
The Pistons are taking tons of jumpers.
The bench looks awful with Galloway after a brief respite.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Kennard scores 20.
Donovan Mitchell struggles to score on Bradley but destroys Kennard on at least one play.
Pistons win a close defense first battle behind Drummond and Kenanrd.
Pistons 95 – Jazz 90.
What do you think? Can the Pistons get back to .500? Will Drummond have a chip on his shoulder?