When you hit rock bottom, the only place to go is up. Keep repeating that to yourself, and who knows, you may feel better after all. It certainly seems like the Pistons can only go up from here, after they laid an egg against the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday night, who went on to win by 19 points without their two best players in Nikola Jokic and Paul Millsap.
One may look back at all of those moral victories the Pistons had during their current 0-7 stretch, including single digit losses to top-notch teams like the San Antonio Spurs, Milwaukee Bucks and Golden State Warriors and take solace knowing Detroit competed until the final buzzer. But after the Nuggets came into Little Caesars Arena and outworked a should be hungry and motivated Detroit club, there are more questions than answers that remain.
Is this the players fault? Is Stan Van Gundy to blame? What has happened to the Detroit Pistons?
Looking at the glass half-full, it’s a long season, there are still 55 games left on the schedule, starting with the Atlanta Hawks, who are currently dead last in the entire NBA. Detroit will also face off against the Magic (2x), Mavericks, and Knicks in their upcoming schedule, all winnable games against mediocre to bad teams.
When: Thursday, 7:30 P.M. EST
Where: Phillips Arena- Atlanta, GA
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit
The Pistons have been awful over the course of their last seven games, we won’t get into that here, but if you want to take a look, Steve Hinson breaks it all down for you.
As noted, the Hawks have been awful over the course of the entire season. They’re currently 6-21, and are in full-on tank mode in order to get a shot at Marvin Bagley III, Michael Porter Jr. or Luka Dončić in the 2018 draft.
If the Atlanta Hawks are going to find a way to win Thursday night, they’ll have to rely heavily on the play of Dennis Schroeder, who’s averaging a career best 20.2 points and 6.4 assists per game. Schroeder is the literal engine to this Hawks team, he’s boasting a career high usage rate of 30%, and is one of the Hawks sole playmakers that can handle the ball.
Schroeder is lightening quick off the dribble, so opposing defenders typically give him some cushion knowing he’s not the most accurate long distance shooter (32% from three this season). He will take advantage of that when he’s in his range though, as you see below.
As noted, Schroeder is lightning fast. Stylistically speaking, he’s like a mixture between Reggie Jackson and Ish Smith. Here’s Schroeder blowing by a defender in the pick n’ roll for an easy basket at the hoop.
Schroeder has played great so far this season, he’s talented enough to keep the Hawks into games they have no right of being in. He’s an underrated passer, and has the ability to find guys like Taurean Prince, Kent Bazemore, and the rookie John Collins in favorable spots.
And while Avery Bradley has played poorly on the offensive side of the ball during Detroit’s seven game skid (averaging only 12 points per game on 33% shooting from the floor, and 30% from three), he can put his stamp on this game by containing Dennis Schroeder, making life very difficult for the rest of the Atlanta Hawks in doing so.
The losing streak ends tonight.
Pistons 106, Hawks 98