Tip Off: 3:00 PM (PST)
Detroit Golden State
PG – Brandon Knight Charles Jenkins
SG – Ben Gordon Monta Ellis
SF – Tayshaun Prince Dorell Wright
PF – Jonas Jerebko David Lee
C – Greg Monroe Andris Biedrins
Preview: After a brutal showing in Charlotte last night, the Golden State Warriors (3-8) will try to change their fortunes when they take on the Detroit Pistons (3-9) at the Palace of Auburn Hills today.
Detroit is ironically coming off a blowout victory in Charlotte that put an end to their six-game losing streak.
The Pistons roster is an intriguing one, but nonetheless a flawed one. They have a very diminutive backcourt and their frontcourt does not compliment them well. Indeed, Detroit has a 93.2 offensive efficiency rating (next to last in the NBA) and shoots 42.5 percent from the field (25th in the league) on the season.
Whether it’s scoring in the paint or in transition, the Pistons just cannot seem to generate any easy baskets; which consequently translates into low scoring games. Brandon Knight, Ben Gordon and Rodney Stuckey like to isolate or run pick-and-rolls from the middle of the court and then go to work from there. They have the quickness as well as ball handling capabilities to beat their man off the bounce and get all the way to the rim; but the Pistons’ guards aren’t exactly the best finishers on the team.
So although they do generate 25 shots attempts at the rim on average (ninth in the association) according to Hoopdata, they only convert 60 percent of their attempts (24th in the NBA) when they get there.
The offense isn’t completely dependent of the guards mind you; they have other options on the team such as Tayshaun Prince. Occasionally, head coach Lawrence Frank will put Prince in screen-and-roll action with a guard to create a mismatch where the former Kentucky player can get a switch that leads to a post up opportunity. Mind you, teams are varying their coverage and actually helping off of Prince and allowing him to get the open jumper as opposed to having him go one-on-one against a smaller player.
With that said, the best offensive option on the Pistons seems to be Greg Monroe. He may not be the prototypical center that bangs down low, but he presents a combination of skills that is quite problematic for the opposition. Detroit likes to put the big man in the high post and allow him to read the defense and feed cutters for lay-ins.
The Pistons do a good job of isolating him at the right elbow and then making back screens on both the strong and weak side of the court to create some action off the ball where Monroe can find the open man. When that fails, the big man attacks his defender by going by him or dribbling the ball down into post position where he is converting 49.2 percent of his shot attempts as per MySynergySports.
Thus, the Pistons have a good big man to lean on, but the roster is far too erratic from the field to display any semblance of consistency on offense.
On defense, Detroit is hardly the second coming of the 2004 Pistons defense that led the team to a title. They currently sport a rating of 106.7 in terms of defensive efficiency (next to last in the league) and allow opponents to shoot a blistering 47.1 percent from the field on the season (28th in the association).
The Pistons guards are routinely beaten off the dribble and posted up given their size. In addition, Detroit’s strategy in the pick-and-roll defense seems to be to focus all of the attention to the ball handler and allow the rolling player to get to any spot he so desires for an uncontested shot.
In addition, the Pistons do not do much to deter opponents from getting to rim given the limitations on the roster. Other than Ben Wallace, there aren’t any big men on the team that could qualify as defensive enforcers or stoppers to keep players out of the lane. Consequently, teams convert 65.3 percent of their attempts at the rim against the Pistons (21st in the NBA).
After a tough showing last night, expect Monta Ellis to bounce back and attack Ben Gordon repeatedly off the dribble as he tries to create scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.
Also, Detroit will probably put David Lee in a lot of pick-and-pop situations with Jonas Jerebko; should the Pistons forward hit a few shots, it may prove to be quite a problematic issue for the Warriors given that Lee is used to retreating into the paint on defense.
Worth noting, Jakob Eich of Piston Powered did a great job of covering the improvement of the Pistons in their understanding of how to use screens and how it helps their teammates get open shots. If Detroit executes well on offense, it will leave Biedrins as the last line of defense to help cover up mistakes, which traditionally has not worked out well for the Dubs.
Golden State game notes: In his last five games, Monta Ellis is averaging 24.0 points, 7.2 assists and 2.0 steals per game on 37.1 percent field goal shooting.
Detroit game notes: In his last five games, Greg Monroe is averaging 17.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game on 59.7 percent field goal shooting.
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