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Pistons vs. Nets preview: Pistons head to Brooklyn and will leave a winner (unless they beat themselves)

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With Jackson out, Detroit must take advantage of winnable games.

NBA: Preseason-Detroit Pistons at Brooklyn Nets Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

The Brooklyn Nets are in the running for worst team in professional basketball, there’s just no other way to put it. Brook Lopez is the superior Lopez brother; Jeremy Lin is quirky; and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson may turn into something.

That’s the best I could come up with.

They do have a new coach in Kenny Atkinson and a new(er) general manager with the hiring of Sean Marks late last season.

New coach, new front office, new attitude, that means a new playing system. From some of my DBB connections, I was able to snag game film of a recent Nets scrimmage which could be a nice scouting advantage for our Pistons.

It looks like they play an efficient, slow-it-down half court offense and love to send all five able bodies to the offensive glass. With Drummond, Detroit should be able to own the defensive rebounds which should lead to some easy transition buckets.

Game Vitals

Where: Barclays Center; Brooklyn, New York

When: Wednesday, November 2nd 7:30 PM EST

Watch: Fox Sports Detroit

Game Analysis

Bad teams beat good teams largely when good teams beat themselves first. Over the past couple seasons, Detroit has an annoying tendency to play to level of their competition. Whether it’s lack of interest, lack of professionalism, it doesn’t matter, it’s an excuse no matter which way you slice it.

Typically, this trait usually rears itself on defense as it’s mostly related to effort. The Pistons opened up the 2016 preseason with a visit to Brooklyn and left with a loss. No big deal as it’s preseason, right?

Yes and no.

Yes because technically, it didn’t count.

No because the Pistons beat themselves.

For most bigs, there are two options (with variations) when defending the pick and roll: 1. Play aggressive, hedge hard and wait for the picked man to recover.
2. Fall back and stop the ball handler from any kind of penetration.

In the above clip, Andre Drummond determined there is a third option - do absolutely nothing. Drummond’s poor choice led directly to Joe Harris with a free lane to the hoop.

The oldest motion in basketball this side of “give and go” is “pass and pick away”. Above, Hollis-Jefferson has the ball at the top of the key and passes it to Randy Foye on the wing. Assuming RH-J is going to “pass and pick away” Marcus Morris ball watches a shade too long and Hollis-Jefferson makes a cut to the hoop. By the time Mook reacts, it’s too late.

It’s actually quite the sneaky cut; Rondae Hollis-Jefferson even motions for Justin Hamilton to receive a pick but then makes a B-line to the block. Kudos.

Of the three examples, this next one is my favorite as there are multiple Piston goofs.

You’ve got to know the personnel on the court at all times.

KCP is checking Randy Foye - who is a shooter; if Foye is driving, most likely, he’s looking to dish it off. Caldwell-Pope does a good job of containing Foye who then leaves his feet.

That’s good, right? Yes! Except for the fact that Ish Smith is playing way too much weak side defense, gets stuck in the paint and leaves shooter Jeremy Lin wide open giving Foye a bail out pass.

Tobias Harris should’ve realized KCP had his job under control and focused on the rolling Trevor Booker. Because he didn’t, Smith felt obligated to stick his nose in there.

And then we have Andre Drummond. Watch it again and specifically watch Drummond.


Look, it’s easy to tear apart film. If there was video tape of how I handle the home row on my keyboard during my 9-5, Twitter would have a field day. What’s concerning is seeing the same thing over and over again. For all the good Andre Drummond gives the Pistons he consistently leaves defensive plays on the table. Let the SB Nation Book of Records show: I want Dre in a Piston uniform for life; I’m not trying to throw shade.


Film don’t lie.

Projected Lineup


Ish Smith, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Tobias Harris, Andre Drummond


Jeremy Lin, Bojan Bogdanovic, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Trevor Booker, Brook Lopez


Pistons win should they not beat themselves which as we know, isn’t a certainty. All jokes aside, I do like Jeremy Lin, he’s best in any kind of pick-and-roll situation and can finish at the hoop. His ability to put constant pressure via penetration will give Ish Smith problems. Lopez fancies himself a three point shooter these days, I’m cool with that. I’m not cool with Bojan Bogdanovic shooting.

Tobias Harris can score on anyone that Brooklyn has to offer. Drummond should eat up the robotic Lopez and Detroit leaves Brooklyn a 107-101 winner.