Where: Amway Center practice facility
When: July 8, 2015, 3PM ET
Watch: NBA TV
Exceptionally Detailed Analysis
The Pistons used their lone day off during the Orlando Summer League to run a light practice in preparation for today's game against the Indiana Pacers. The Pistons come into the game with a 1-2 record and 9 total puppy points thanks to 5 quarter wins (3 against the Clippers, 1 apiece against Miami and Orlando White) and one game win against Los Angeles. It could have been 10 points but the referees waved off Adonis Thomas' three pointer at the buzzer against Miami, which would have granted the Pistons the quarter win. The Pacers are rooted to the bottom of the ladder with 4 points, and an 0-2 record.
The Pistons come into the matchup on the heels of a 78-73 loss to the Miami Heat, where the two oft-compared small forwards Justise Winslow and Stanley Johnson were pitted against each other. Through my red, white and blue tinted glasses, Johnson won the individual matchup, scoring 14 points to Winslow's 17 on just 5 total field goals. This performance encapsulated the efficiency of Johnson, who has shot the ball at a staggering 70% for the tournament, to go along with a 50% success rate from behind the arc (free throw shooting be damned). He's also averaging over 6 rebounds a contest, plus 2 assists, 2 steals and 17 points per game. He really has beasted so far this summer.
Spencer Dinwiddie and Darrun Hilliard have struggled to various degrees throughout the tournament. Dinwiddie has struggled with his shot and his turnovers, whilst Hilliard has shown a tendency to sometimes disappear after hot starts.
Of the other guys on the roster, besides Quincy Miller, who is injured and cannot play, the only guys who haven't seen any court time are Julian Washburn from UTEP and Manny Atkins from the Grand Rapids Drive. Washburn has already been snared by Golden State for their Las Vegas summer league entry. Perhaps today's the day where they get some court time. Adam Kemp has not played since being slaughtered in the first game by the Magic's Keith Benson, likewise Billy Baron, while Kelsey Barlow, Kendall Gray and Sundiata Gaines have also only played one game.
From the free agents, Adonis Thomas is most likely to secure a roster spot (not certain, but most likely out of the group). He has been all but guaranteed a spot on the 20-man training camp roster, and has impressed so far this summer. His shooting has fallen off from his hot first game where he dropped 17 points (32% from field, 39% from three), but he has done other things, namely hustling and making the little plays. He has an NBA body at 6-foot-6, 240 pounds, and puts it to good use to average 4.7 rebounds a game.
The Pacers are one of the weaker rosters in the Orlando Summer League this year. Besides Myles Turner, there isn't a whole lot of elite level talent on the roster. The team also features other draft picks in Joe Young and 2013 first-rounder Solomon Hill, plus a whole lot of free agents looking for a chance. Turner is the dominant force on the team, though. He's averaging 16.5 points, 8.5 rebounds and 4.5 blocks through 2 games, while shooting 14-22 from the field (2-2 from three). If Detroit can stop him, they stop most of Indiana's offense.
Players To Watch
Pistons: Darrun Hilliard
Hilliard hasn't had the big game so far, and this is his chance. He'll likely get big minutes once again to impress, and he needs to be more aggressive. He's shot the ball well from three so far this tournament (44%), so being more assertive should get him more good looks. He's done a lot of running off screens, but those shots have been a mixed bag thus far.
Pacers: Myles Turner
By default, really.
The Pistons will be motivated after a disappointing defeat to Miami, so I'll pick them. Also, the talent differential is too large to ignore.
Pistons 82, Pacers 70
Dinwiddie, Thomas, Johnson, Harper, Gray