The surging Golden State Warriors visit the Pistons to test the five-game win streak defended in Detroit. Can Detroit's vintage-inspired defense continue to rattle opponents at The Palace?
In five consecutive home court wins, the Detroit Pistons are holding their opponents to less than 39% shooting on average. This vintage Palace defense is pushing Detroit toward the league's best defense in terms of opponent field goal percentage, led by the Indiana Pacers at 40.6%. I feel like we've been here before...
Another defensive win tonight could bring the Pistons another step closer to the kind of character it carried through the last decade. After so many struggles, could the Detroit Pistons finally be headed back to work?
Game Tips at 7:30P.M. EST
Golden State Warriors: 10 - 7 (4 - 4 road)
Detroit Pistons: 6 - 13 (5 - 3 home)
The success of the Golden State Warriors is pretty simple to source. Stephen Curry and David Lee are healthy, and Carl Landry and Jarrett Jack are absolutely killing it off the bench. That's two pair of excellent pick-and-roll offenses, either of which could start for just about any team in the league. Landry has been the team's most effective player so far in 2012-13, not bad for a late-summer pick up at just $4M/yr. Jarrett Jack is another success story, putting up 10 points and 5 assists on 49% shooting in 25 minutes (on an expiring mid-level salary, no less).
The rest of the cast has been largely disappointing. Klay Thompson is putting up big numbers just like everyone thought he would prior to this season-- 15.4 points per game... on 15.4 attempts per game. Ouch. On the other hand, Harrison Barnes is scoring efficiently, but the pre-draft tag of "one-dimensional" is playing itself out as you would expect. The future remains bright for these two, however, as they are only 22 and 20 years old respectively.
Andrew Bogut, however, has been a grand disappointment. Golden State had to know what they were getting when they traded for Bogut in a package including Monta Ellis, but fans may not have been ready for just how fragile Bogut is. When the season started, the Warriors organization was talking about an early return for Bogut, given that his minor arthroscopic
knee ankle surgery in April was a success. Apparently none of this was true, not even the nature of the surgery. There is now talk that Bogut may be out the entire season, as the team now explains that his procedure in April was microfracture surgery. The difference between the arthroscopic procedure and the microfracture surgery is basically like comparing mole removal to sexual reassignment surgery. But hey, I'm no doctor-- thank your genitals.
Let's back up just a moment to Jarrett Jack before moving forward. A few years back, I identified three guards as ideal replacement candidates to Rodney Stuckey as Detroit's starting point guard with the help of Benjamin Gulker, and Bearded Thundar. They were Ramon Sessions, Darren Collison and Jarrett Jack. All three players were available, as each ended up with a new team the following season (Sessions to Cleveland, Collison to Indiana, Jack to New Orleans). Funny enough, all three are still on our collective radar three years later. Should Jarrett Jack still be in consideration for Detroit?
Despite his age, having just turned 29-years-old, Jack is one of the league's most efficient, productive point guards in limited minutes. He's on his second year of shooting above 45% from the field, roughly 30% of his touches lead to a teammate basket, he's got good size to play the point and he's one of the best defenders at his position. If you want a rough comparison for Jarrett Jack-- he's what would have happened to Chauncey Billups had he never signed with Detroit. He's a stud guard without the reputation.
Given Detroit's need for a real point guard, either backing up Brandon Knight, teaching him or taking the starting role, three years of Jarrett Jack could be a boon for the Pistons. If a trade won't make it happen, a low-cost signing this summer could be a wise move. I mention this for fans to get a chance to watch Jack in action. He won't blow you away, but you'll be surprised at just how much he accomplished when you look at the box score tonight.
Note that Golden State could really use a backup to Klay Thompson, and Jack may not be the ideal third guard for the Warriors. Rodney Stuckey might be an ideal replacement, and while a Jack + Udoh Trade Exception might work, Golden State would approach the luxury tax next season to do that. Either free agency or a more involved deal would have to make that work for this season.
Keys to the Game:
Feed the Moose: Greg Monroe not only needs to have his fair share of shots, he needs to initiate the offense from the high post tonight. Golden State is a surprisingly good defensive team this season, but they're weak on pick-and-rolls and cuts to the basket. Give Monroe the rock, let him direct traffic for cuts and take his own shots off of pick and rolls off the wing.
Play Drummond Like a Starter: This Warriors team is very effective on post-up plays and on cuts to the basket. They're winning games in the paint by working their way into the paint on offense. Detroit needs a big, angry shot blocking presence in the middle tonight. They have one on the bench. Monroe and Maxiell will not cut it against this Warriors team.
Stay Active in Passing Lanes: If Detroit can interrupt Golden State's pick-and-roll passes, they can blunt a very effective weapon for the Warriors. Keep Curry and Jack contained, let Drummond man up on Landry and Lee, and Detroit's stretch of vintage Palace D can continue.
Question of the Game:
Can the Pistons only play games at home from now on forever please thank you?