Opponent Scouting: SA Spurs. (preseason game #2)
Tonight at 8:30 p.m. EST the Pistons will continue their preseason campaign in the lone-star state against the Spurs. As always, it's preseason so anyone and everyone could sit out/not play so if any information here is wrong I'm sorry.
The Spurs ended the whole Kawhi Leonard saga this past season, and enter this year as a interesting team for what Pop can do. Last year the under-manned squad still managed 47 wins in a brutal Western Conference. Adding DeMar DeRozan could push them right back to the top of the West.
Regardless, for now, DeRozan is likely to continue his parade of pump fakes, dunks, and free-throws and for all the flak he's caught since the playoffs, Pistons fans need no reminding of what this dude can do when he's on. LaMarcus Aldridge is getting older but quietly turned in a absolutely incredible season last year, his brand of quiet two-way excellence will prove difficult for the Pistons to deal with especially if Blake Griffin sits out again. Dejounte Murray is absurdly long and athletic, he has to make progress on offense but he's still good. Pau Gasol is still alive, his plodding defense and soft box-outs are still holes but his super-intelligent offensive game continues to sing with the Spurs.
Patty Mills is a ball of off-the-dribble-threes energy, Rudy Gay is another guy that quietly turned in a really solid season last year. Marco Belinelli is back and he can still shoot, Jakob Poeltl arrived with DeRozan and he is a nice swiss-army-knife of a backup big. Dante Cunningham is versatile at either forward spot, Lonnie Walker is an interesting rookie for a late-first-round pick.
This team is still going to tough as nails, Pop is great and they have more talent on the roster than people are giving them credit for.
Matchups to watch:
Who's playing? Since last game missed out on Westbrook, Paul George, Blake Griffin, and Reggie Jackson, this is the biggest question. If no one plays then whatever lol.
Point Bruce: Bruce Brown was forced into some duty at point guard against the Thunder. I want to see more of this. We don't need to get Jose Calderon preseason reps, let Bruce have a go because he made a couple of really nice moves. I'd love to see how he stood up to Dejounte Murray's smothering defense.
Drummond vs. Staying in his lane: Other than a distinct half-assing in the first-half, Drummond had a successful first preseason game. Even though he missed all 3 of his three-pointers, he never forced it or searched for it. He needs to keep a balance of not losing confidence in the shot while not forcing it. Add the long-ball without taking away from all the great stuff you do.
Pistons offensive balance: If Rjax and/or Griffin sit out again this is a moot point. But if they do, lets see how the offense is distributed between the Pistons three engines.
Dwane Casey vs. Remembering it's preseason: DON'T PLAY GUYS SO MANY MINUTES. Seriously. If you are going to play guys extra minutes then do things that are useful in those minutes.
So in conclusion...
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
Andre is mashing a soft Spurs front-line.
Bruce Brown (or Luke Kennard) gets to play more point-guard.
Henry Ellenson looks mostly ok again.
Run for the hills if:
Drummond starts hunting for threes.
Ellenson has to guard Aldridge.
Both teams rest everyone.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
It's preseason I ain't making predictions lol.
Watching the game:
There have been reports that it will not be televised at all. I’m sure that there will be a in-stadium feed somewhere if you are brave enough to find it. That said, watching the stadium feed often sucks so I don’t know if there will be a recap because I may not bother watching lol.
What do you think? Will they play better minutes? Will Drummond repeat a strong outing?