The start of the unofficial second half of the season didn't go too well as the Pistons got shellacked 105-91 by the Memphis Grizzlies in perhaps the team's worst performance of the season. Detroit looks to rebound against the Charlotte Bobcats, facing former teammate Ben Gordon. With this being the last day until free agency ends, will this be his final game in a Bobcat uniform?
Ben Gordon recently became a former Piston and now he might be on his way to becoming a former Bobcat. Assuming a trade doesn't go down in the next couple of hours this will be the second night in a row that Detroit is playing against someone from last year's team. The Pistons are trying to rebound from an awful performance against the Gizzlies and you'd think that facing Charlotte would be just the thing the doctor ordered. But while the Bobcats have only five road victories this season one of them was against Detroit, 108-101 on Jan. 6. The Bobcats are also coming off of a convincing 105-92 win against the Magic and have won two of three after losing 15 of their previous 17.
While the Pistons certainly aren't in tank mode it is hard to tell based on the recent production of rotation mainstays Jason Maxiell, Charlie Villanueva, Rodney Stuckey and Brandon Knight. I know it was only garbage time but Jonas Jerebko proved he should be in the rotation against the Grizzlies, certainly more than Maxiell or CV. JJ scored 13 points in 10 minutes and matched the team high in points. Maxiell, meanwhile, isn't providing points or rebounds. And we've seen much more of the cold-shooting Charlie than the hot-shooting Charlie in recent weeks.
Keys to the Game
Don't let Ben Gordon blow up -- Gordon is a poor player who is trying to play his way out of Charlotte. But as we're all aware on some nights he'll hit eight 3s en route to 35 points. Don't let this be one of those nights.
Rebounding: The Pistons were obliterated on the boards against the Grizzlies and rebounding has been the biggest team deficiency since Andre Drummond got injured. This is especially apparent when Greg Monroe sits down. Maxiell, Villanueva and Slava Kravtsov just plain can't rebound. Luckily, neither can the Bobcats, and they struggle especially to keep opponents off the offensive glass. This would be a nice night for the Pistons to fix both their rebounding and scoring issues.
The Bench: Seriously, have I complained enough about the bench yet? No? Good. The bench on the season is giving up a respectable 32.9 points per game, decidedly average. But in the five games that Drummond has missed that has shot up to 36.2 points (Data from hoopsstats.com). Drummond made everyone around him better so there isn't much the team can do until he returns. Except maybe play different (younger) players in the rotation.
Question of the Game
Who should I want the Pistons to draft in the 6-10 range? I'm sort of keeping my eyes on Victor Oladipo, Otto Porter, Trey Burke, Marcus Smart and Michael Carter-Williams.