Detroit Pistons: 17-25 (7-14, home)
New Orleans Pelicans: 16-25 (7-14, road)
Game Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
The Detroit Pistons and New Orleans Pelicans both made significant investments in the offseason with a playoffs or bust mentality. And it looks like both franchises have just about busted, though I'd say New Orleans has a better excuse.
The Pelicans traded away a lottery pick (that became Nerlens Noel) to make a long-term commitment to Jrue Holiday at point guard. The team then gave over a hefty contract to Tyreke Evans, despite the fact that the team already had Holiday and the high-priced Eric Gordon in the fold.
The Pistons, as we all know, traded away a future lottery pick to eventually free up money to sign Josh Smith despite the fact they already had Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond in the fold. The team also made a long-term commitment to Brandon Jennings. Like I said -- bust.
Still, you have to feel sympathy for the Pelicans. While Detroit looks to have largely shot itself in the foot by building a completely unworkable roster and hiring a sub-par coach, New Orleans is dealing with significant injuries to key cogs Holiday and superb stretch-four Ryan Anderson. And, at least from afar, it looks like Monty Williams knows how to coach. Yes, they probably expected bigger bang from their buck from Evans and Holiday, but, hey, at least their not in danger of setting a record for futility.
The Pelicans have lost nine of 10, have been decimated by injuries and currently have the second-worst defense in the NBA, and with so many offensive weapons MIA it just can't keep up with other teams on a nightly basis. Still, the Pistons are in the midst of the worst stretch of the season and coming off a loss to the NBA-worst Bucks. Until further notice, the Pistons shouldn't be favored in any game.
Keys to the Game
AD vs. AD: Every time these two face off, I hope for an epic battle. I give the advantage tonight to AD.
3-point shooting: Both teams are garbage on defense, but New Orleans can light it up from 3. The team is third in the league in 3-point shooting and connecting on 40 percent of its attempts in its past 10.
Size advantage: New Orleans has the otherworldly Anthony Davis, one of the best young big men in the game. But other than that, their frontline consists of Greg Stiemsma, Alex Ajinca and Jeff Withey. Detroit's bigs must take advantage.
Make foul shots: The Pelicans foul a lot and normally that would be a recipe for disaster. But the Pistons are the worst free-throw shooting team in the NBA. Made free-throws = victory?
Question of the Game
Who would you rather have, Anthony Davis or Andre Drummond