The Detroit Pistons have won two games in a row since Maurice Cheeks has been toying with his big man rotation. During those two games, Josh Smith has played relatively well in about forty minutes per game. Unfortunately, it appears that increased minutes for Josh Smith at power forward mean an even smaller role for Greg Monroe. During those last two games, Moose has put up seventeen and a half points and eleven boards on just over fifty percent shooting (Smith can only dream of that kind of efficiency) - but he has only played about twenty-seven minutes per game.
It's far too soon to make a conclusive judgment here, but it appears that this is intentional. Moose wasn't in foul trouble, and matchups weren't that unfavorable. The Pistons appear to Josh Smith as the franchise guy, and they're going to treat him - and everyone else - like they mean it.
The Jazz have been the Pistons' arch nemesis over the past several years, but the big story on Friday is the return of Trey Burke to Michigan. Spartan fans will have to humor (and put up with) me on this one. It really is a big deal to a whole lot of people, not just because Trey Burke is a Michigan Wolverine legend, but because Joe Dumars passed on Trey in favor of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (and then trolled us by drafting Peyton Siva, who frustrated Trey Burke in the NCAA Championship game, in the second round).
Sean has already demonstrated that KCP is putting together a very nice rookie season, and there is no clear answer as to which of the two will be the better NBA player, but if Trey plays well... the internet might break from the hate Dumars will receive. Personally, I don't think there was much separation between the two as prospects, I like what KCP is doing as a rookie, and I'm pulling for both of them. But Trey as a Piston would have been oh so sweet. Even you Spartans would have come around eventually.
Fun fact: It's worth noting that Trey missed the first twelve games of the season, in which the Jazz won only one game; they are twelve and sixteen with him.
Keys to the Game
Play defense, win: The Jazz are not a good offensive team. Defend Gordon Hayward and Trey Burke, and avoid having a mediocre big like Derrick Favors light you up like an All Star, and you'll be good.
Run, run, then run some more: The Jazz play a very slow brand of basketball. The Pistons are at their best when they're running (of course, that usually requires defensive stops, too, but you can't win them all). Oh yeah, the Jazz are also the worst team in basketball. This one should be fairly simple.
Feed the Moose Take shots from close to the basket: Josh Smith is the man in Detroit, love it or hate it, so the Pistons might as well play to his strengths. To start the game, Smith should be able to abuse Hayward in the post, and none of the Jazz big men should be able to stay with him when he slides to power forward. Josh Smith is going to play a lot, and he's going to shoot a lot. Please shoot from the paint. Please?
Question of the Game:
Are you more excited to watch the Pistons? Or TREY BURKE?!?!
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