Inside the Scope: Golden State Warriors (10-7) x Detroit Pistons (6-13)
- Tip Off: 4:30 p.m. (PT)
- Television: CSN-BA
Detroit Pistons Team Profile
- Offensive Efficiency: 98.4 (25th in NBA)
- Defensive Efficiency: 101.5 (15th in NBA)
- Points: Greg Monroe, 15.7 PPG
- Rebounds: Greg Monroe, 9.9 RPG
- Assists: Brandon Knight, 5.2 APG
- Steals: Greg Monroe, 1.7 SPG
- Blocks: Jason Maxiell, 1.6 BPG
- Field Goal Percentage: Andre Drummond, 55.1% FG
- 3-Point Field Goal Percentage: Kyle Singler, 44.9% 3PT FG
Preview: With the Golden State Warriors traveling to the Palace of Auburn Hills to take on the Detroit Pistons tonight, Warriors World reached out to Patrick Hayes of Piston Powered, the Detroit Pistons ESPN TrueHoop Affiliate blog, to get his take on the Pistons.
J.M. Poulard, Warriors World: Patrick, the Golden State Warriors were defeated Monday night at home by the Orlando Magic in what was a peculiar contest to say the least considering they were lit up in the second half by a man that goes by the name of J.J. Redick.
The Pistons present an entirely different matchup and the battle between Klay Thompson and Rodney Stuckey should present an intriguing matchup given the contrast in styles of both players.
Klay is more a spot up shooter that likes to curl off screens and put the ball on the floor when he senses the defender might be closing in fast while Rodney often looks like an old school guard that loves to size up his defender and beat him off the dribble to get his preferred spots on the court to take the shot he desires.
What matchup catches your attention going into the game tonight?
Patrick Hayes, PistonPowered: J.M., a potential Stuckey-Thompson matchup is intriguing for the reasons you mention — styles don’t get much different among guards than those two guys. But based on the way Lawrence Frank has used Stuckey this season, I’m not sure we’ll see much of Stuckey vs. Thompson. First and foremost, despite the Pistons going to great lengths to re-brand Stuckey as a shooting guard rather than a point guard last season, that experiment appears to be over. As you point out, Stuckey has to have the ball in his hands to be effective. This season, with Brandon Knight taking a more assertive role in running the offense, the Pistons discovered that Stuckey does not shoot anywhere near well enough to spend his minutes as a traditional shooting guard. And defensively, he’s never defended the shooting guard position particularly well. Stuckey is slowly working his way out of an early season slump since moving into the backup point guard role. I think we’re likely to see more of Kyle Singler on Thompson. Singler, predictably, gets beat off the dribble fairly routinely by opposing twos, but he’s more athletic than he’s given credit for and his long arms allow him to do pretty well contesting shots of good shooters like Thompson.
One matchup I’m looking forward to in this game is Knight vs. Stephen Curry. Knight has yet to establish himself as the type of defensive player his physical tools suggest he could be, and one constant for the Pistons perimeter defense as a whole has been a maddening tendency to give good perimeter shooters open looks. If this happens with Curry, the game could get ugly. I’m interested to see whether Knight can get himself ready for a tough defensive assignment.
And selfishly, I’m most looking forward to seeing Draymond Green against … well … anyone the Pistons choose to play against him. I covered Green a couple of times when he was a high school player at Saginaw and I was a huge fan of his at Michigan State (and, at the risk of bragging, I was one of the earliest to call him a legit NBA prospect, to the laughs of many who are no longer laughing). Green has many fans back here in Michigan rooting for him. What impact has he had on the Warriors so far? And, for that matter, how have the team’s other rookies, Harrison Barnes and Festus Ezeli, contributed?
J.M. Poulard: Believe it or not, there are times at which Draymond Green has looked like the best defensive player on the Warriors. He understands his assignments and routinely covers up for teammates when they miss theirs and then sprints back to his man. It’s fascinating to watch and appreciate his basketball IQ despite his lack of NBA experience.
And just for good measure, he gets called upon to defend good power forwards as well as small forwards because he has the size and foot speed to stay with most players that are his size. Offensively though, he’s been decent at best. Teams have exposed his inability to make perimeter jumpers so far by simply rotating off him and daring him to make plays, which he has not yet done. Consequently, he is feeling his way through the offense but I suspect that at some point he’ll understand how he fits with his teammates on that side of the ball and how to maximize his potential as well as theirs with his unique skillset as a passing big man.
As it pertains to Harrison Barnes, the best way to put it is that he’s played like a rookie. He’s had some superb nights and then followed them up with some duds, but the talent is unquestionably there. His confidence comes and goes, but when his game is on, he is a tough cover for most players in the league.
With Bogut being injured indefinitely, Ezeli has been starting at center for the Warriors and has done a good job of helping out the team defensively. His size and strength are problematic for opposing centers but he’s not yet at the point where he can get a lot of consistent minutes.
On the flip side, I’m curious to see how many minutes Andre Drummond gets tonight, and if coach Frank matches him up with David Lee.
What should we expect from the Pistons rookie and how do you think this game unfolds?
Patrick Hayes: The more appropriate question, I’ve learned, is what should we expect from Lawrence Frank? Virtually every game Drummond has played this season, he’s made a huge per-minute impact both on the boards and as a shot-blocker. Despite Detroit’s obvious deficiencies in those areas, that hasn’t always translated to big minutes for Drummond, so it’s hard to predict his impact given Frank’s occasional and puzzling quick hook.
But I do expect Drummond to, at the very least, do those two things. He’ll rebound, particularly on the offensive glass. Pistons broadcaster Greg Kelser, who unlike most home team color commentators is not prone to hyperbole, believes that Drummond will be the best offensive rebounder in the league very soon. And Drummond will also contest shots, often to a fault. He’s still a bit undisciplined as a shot-blocker, leaving his feet on pump fakes and occasionally goal-tending on balls he really shouldn’t have been trying to swat, but considering how many he does get to, those are small prices to pay. Drummond, even if he plays less than 20 minutes against the Warriors, will still be a threat for 10+ rebounds and 2+ blocks.
Offensively, he’s more of a mixed bag. For as powerful as he’s capable of finishing, he often settles for laying the ball in, causing him some cheap misses when he short-arms the ball attempting a finesse move when a dunk would’ve sufficed. But he will move without the ball, he will hit the offensive glass and, because of those two skills, he will get opportunities to score.
But I’ve given up, for the time being, on hoping for an expanded role for Drummond. That just doesn’t appear to be in the cards. So in this game, I’m more interested in Detroit’s other young big, Greg Monroe. Monroe has struggled against Anderson Varejao, the bigger and stronger Chris Kaman and the Memphis front line in the last three games. Golden State’s frontcourt presents a much more favorable matchup for him. How do you think the Warriors will try to defend him?
J.M. Poulard: The Warriors will most likely throw Ezeli at him early but will then turn to David Lee, Carl Landry and perhaps even Draymond Green to defend Monroe. Landry is physical and carries himself with a lot of swagger while Lee can be bullied on the block and taken off the dribble.
Part of me wonders if Frank will run a couple of sets to force Lee early on to switch on to Monroe where the Georgetown product can go to work completely undeterred and get to see his favorite spots on the floor.
With that said, I think we’re in for a low scoring game, and the team that executes best down the stretch will get the victory, and I’m inclined to believe that it will be the Golden State Warriors.