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Pistons vs. Pelicans preview: Detroit heads to New Orleans to face the Brow

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Andre Drummond gets to face off against his fellow 2012 draft counterpart for the first time this season.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

After a huge breakout season in 2014-2015, it was clear that Anthony Davis was the cream of the crop for the 2012 NBA Draft class. Andre Drummond was one of the better players from that class, but was still a class below Anthony Davis. Andre Drummond is having a breakout season of his own this year that has closed the gap between himself and Anthony Davis.

The suggestion of wanting Andre Drummond over Anthony Davis would be laughed at after last season. However, with the way Andre Drummond has emerged this year as one of the more dominant forces at the center position, that is no longer a laughable suggestion. These two growing stars face off for the first time this season.

Game Vitals

Where: Smoothie King Center-New Orleans, LA

When: Thursday, Jan. 22 at 8 PM EST

Watch: Fox Sports Detroit

Analysis

The Pistons are coming off of a sweet victory over the Houston Rockets. What made that victory so sweet is the fact that the Rockets resorted to Hack-A-Dre but still ended up losing 123-114. Sure, Andre Drummond set an NBA record for missed free throws in a game with 23, but the team still won.

Obviously there is not much that can be done about the Hack-A-Dre strategy unless there are rule changes made to stop it. The hope is that New Orleans would not resort to it as early and often as Houston did, but you simply do not know.

This is a relatively favorable matchup for the Pistons because the Pelicans have been ravaged by injuries this year. It has taken the Pelicans from being a playoff team in the West to near the bottom of the league. They have Anthony Davis, who has also struggled with injuries, and a cast of oft-injured players

Ryan Anderson has been a bright spot off of the New Orleans bench. This could be a look at a potential Pistons' free agent target for this offseason. Containing him and Anthony Davis will be a key to victory. Tyreke Evans is always a tough cover when he plays because of his size for a guard. If he plays he could be tough for whoever is matched up on him between KCP and Reggie Jackson

Key Matchup

Andre Drummond vs. Anthony Davis

It was already discussed above, but these two are at the top of their draft class. They are two of the best young bigs in the league, but do not get a lot of opportunities to face off because they are in different conferences. Although they may not be matched up on each other on defense the whole game, these two should be motivated to face off and prove who is the best big in their draft class.

Last Time We Met

March 4, 2015 at the Smoothie King Center-Pelicans 88, Pistons 85

The Pistons had a 24-17 lead after the first quarter, but were outscored in each of the last 3 quarters. Reggie Jackson had a double-double with 14 points and 11 assists. Jodie Meeks led the Pistons in scoring with 20 points. Anthony Davis carrier New Orleans with 39 points and 13 rebounds. Tyreke Evans also had 21 points.

Projected Starters

Pistons: Jackson, KCP, Morris, Ilyasova, Drummond

Pelicans: Holiday, Evans, Gee, Davis, Asik

Score Prediction

Pistons 102, Pelicans 88

Community Question

Would you rather have Anthony Davis or Andre Drummond?