To say the last week has been a disaster for the Pistons would be an understatement. The Pistons have gotten blown out in four of their past five games, which includes a particularly embarrassing loss at the Palace to the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Pistons held a team meeting after a loss to the Pacers, and it didn’t do anything as Detroit proceeded to play some of the least inspired basketball I have ever watched against the Chicago Bulls on Monday.
The Pistons are returning home to face the Memphis Grizzlies hoping to break out of their current funk.
Where: Palace of Auburn Hills-Auburn Hills, MI
When: Wednesday, Dec. 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit
The Grizzlies spent some serious money in the offseason, shelling out two major deals to players with recent injury histories.
They re-signed Mike Conley first. Conley has always been a very solid point guard, but he signed the richest contract in NBA history at $153 million over five years. Granted, he got this money due to the current nature of the NBA, with teams flush in new TV deal money and handing out cash like it was going out of style.
For as solid of a player as Conley has been, he is not worth what he is making, especially because he has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career. That is still true this year as he has only played in 19 games. However, he is averaging a career-high 18.3 point per game while shooting 42 percent from 3.
The other marquee signing for the Grizzlies was small forward Chandler Parsons, another player who has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career. He signed a four-year deal worth $94 million dollars. When healthy, this is a pretty reasonable contract for Parsons. He plays solid defense and is a great shooter.
However, just like Conley, Parsons has not stayed healthy this year. He has played in only six games and is averaging a career-low 7.7 points and shooting 24 percent from 3. He has been dealing with a knee issue all year and is not expected to play against the Pistons.
Marc Gasol has become a fixture with the Memphis Grizzlies. His style fits so well with the Grizzlies’ grit and grind ethos. He is having a bit of a renaissance year as he is averaging a career-high 19.3 points and 4.1 assists. He has also added a 3-point shot to his arsenal that he is shooting at a 41 percent clip on 3.7 shots per game.
Marc Gasol is going to be a tough, physical matchup for Andre Drummond. He will give Drummond even more problems with his added 3-point range. I do not expect it to be an easy day for him, so the Pistons will have to dominate the rest of the lineup to win this game.
Zach Randolph has moved into a sixth-man role for the Grizzlies this year and will be another tough match-up for the Pistons. If Jon Leuer is moved into the starting lineup, it will be either Tobias Harris’ or Marcus Morris’ job to guard him, and they could struggle with his physical low-post play.
It is difficult to go into too much analysis on potential matchups because Stan Van Gundy has not said who will be added to the starting lineup. There is going to be a change, but it is not certain yet.
Like the Pistons, the Grizzlies are coming into this game on a bit of a struggle as well. They have lost their last two games and three of their last five. However, one of those wins was a blowout of the Golden State Warriors.
If the Pistons are able to overcome a likely very solid game out of Marc Gasol, I think they definitely have a chance at beating the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies are a very good team, but they do not have a lot of players that instill fear into other teams offensively.
Pistons: Reggie Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Jon Leuer, Andre Drummond
Injuries: Reggie Bullock
Grizzlies: Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Troy Williams, JaMychal Green, Marc Gasol
Injuris: Chandler Parson, Jarell Martin
Pistons 105, Grizzlies 101
I think this will be a very close and hard-fought battle. I think the Pistons finally get things back together and play some inspired basketball. I honestly will not be mad if the Pistons lose as long as they play a good game and don’t get blown out.
What do you think will be the new starting lineup for the Pistons?