Today at 4:00pm EST the Pistons will host the Atlanta Hawks at the LCA. Both teams are on one day of rest, with the Pistons having lost to the Hornets, and the Hawks having beaten the Knicks.
The Hawks are very, very bad. They feature the 29th best offense and 24th defense in the NBA. They are fully on the tank.
Trae Young has shown signs of promise but the Hawks have to be a bit worried about him even if they won’t admit it yet. Young leads the team in minutes and field goal attempts and is shooting just 38% from the field and 25% from deep. His passing vision is still good but his 7.2 assists are coming alongside 3.9 turnovers. Young still has time, no one should panic, but it is certainly not an overly encouraging start to his career.
After Young, John Collins (who may not play) is a bouncy big man with decent touch and some skill. Collins is still learning a lot of the finer points of defense and is still skinny. You’d hope a guy with as much bounce as him would have more than .6 blocks per game.
Taurean Prince was having a nice season but he’s hurt. Kent Bazemore is still comically overpaid but he’s a functional complimentary wing player. Dewayne Dedmon is a big man who plays hard and is strong. Also has some shooting touch. Kevin Huerter can shoot, DeAndre Bembry is ok at some things but not much good at any of them. Alex Len is here, he’s big. Jeremy Lin isn’t playing much but has played well.
This team is kind of a mess. That’s ok, they are tanking. They will continue to let Trae young play through mistakes in hopes it works out.
Matchups to watch:
Blake Griffin vs. Not much: Especially if Collins is out, the Hawks will be almost comically thin up front. Griffin should have little trouble having a field day.
Pistons vs. Letting Trae Young Shoot: In an ironic turn of events given his reputation coming out of college. Letting Young bomb 3s is your best option. When allowed to penetrate he can pass, and has actually finished inside quite well. Keep him outside and let him bomb 3s.
Jose Calderon vs. Continued Regression: He finally hit a couple of 3s last time out. This dude is a great shooter. If he could continue to regress to the mean towards his normal shooting it would be very helpful.
Pistons vs. Keeping the path: I figured if the Pistons could escape the brutal part of December at least at .500 they would be alright. Now they have to take care of business in a couple of games (they play the Wizards next) they should win.
So in conclusion…
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
Blake Griffin is blatantly hunting a triple double and no one cares because he is getting whatever he wants.
Trae Young is trying to break the government shutdown by providing so many bricks that the wall is suddenly much cheaper.
The Pistons are up by double digits at the end of the first quarter.
Run for the hills if:
The game is still very close heading into the 4th.
The Pistons offense is actually in a funk after a miserable outing against Charlotte.
Trae Young decides to suddenly actually look like Steph Curry.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Blake Griffin triple double.
The Hawks score very few points.
Reggie Bullock has a excellent night.
The Hawks are bad, the Pistons are not. The Pistons win comfortably.
Pistons 117 - Hawks 93.