December is a month synonymous with holiday cheer, spending time, quality or otherwise, with friends and family, and with any luck, some much-needed time away from whatever you call an office.
The Detroit Pistons hope to soak up the festive vibes as well, but they also have to dial it in a notch as the schedule takes a direct turn to Yikesville. Golden State, Oklahoma City, Milwaukee (twice), Philadelphia (twice), New Orleans, Boston, Minnesota and Indiana are all on the docket.
Were the ‘96 Bulls unavailable? Yikes.
Before the final month of 2018 begins, though, Detroit has two winnable home games, starting tonight with the New York Knicks and on Friday against the Chicago Bulls. My buddy, Ryan, says New York shouldn’t be slept on. I find that hard to believe, but let’s take a look anyways.
When: November 27th @ 7 p.m.
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit, League Pass
The New York Knicks’ roster is a Michael Beasley or a Corliss Williamson shy of being the best castoff squad ever constructed. The Knickerbockers are a who’s who of dudes that other teams gave up on.
Noah Vonleh, Mario Hezonja, Trey Burke, Joakim Noah is still collecting checks somehow, Courtney Lee, Emmanuel Mudiay (Laz’s problem child - Editor’s Note: His TS% is 57 percent! I still own all his stock!) , and Enes Kanter is quite the roll call, and seemingly answers every “where’d that guy end up?” question. With Kristaps Porzingis, most likely, out for the year, New York seems content to kill time and develop their youngsters.
Don’t tell that to their first year head coach David Fizdale, though.
Fiz, especially over the last ten days or so, has his team ready to scrap. Tough losses to New Orleans, Orlando and Portland followed by an impressive win in Boston, a redemption victory against New Orleans and at Fizdale’s former place of employment, Memphis.
Ok, so maybe Ryan was onto something.
(I’ve been lucky enough to be in attendance at two different seminars in which Fizdale was a speaker, and let me tell you something, he is an awesome listen. No filter, cursed like a sailor, and, as cliche as it sounds, 100-percent real. If interested, I wrote about one of those seminars for DBB a while back here, he’s the first story.)
Tim Hardaway Jr. has grown into the role of slasher/scorer at a rate surprising many, and continues to evolve and develop. His 23.3 points per game is 1/10th of a point off his dad’s career high. Having a pro as dad means he’s got some pretty big shoes to fill, but, try as he might, he’ll never be able to fill out one of pops’ big-ass suits:
You know about tailors, right, Tim? I’ll never get sick of Hardaway Sr. suit jokes, never.
For as bounce-y and athletic THJ is, he doesn’t get to the hoop as often as you would expect. When he gets there, his 49-percent conversion rate within four feet suggests he has trouble finishing, too.
It seems like a match in cringe heaven, as Detroit ranks dead last in the league in defending the rim as teams are converting 70 percent (per Cleaning the Glass) within that same four feet of the basket.
Something must give!
The Knicks, like Pistons, are a very good offensive rebounding team thanks in large part to Enes Kanter. His 4.5 offensive boards per game put him in the top-five in the league, but still almost two full boards behind the leader, Andre Drummond. He’s been known to give Dre fits though - in two games last year against Detroit, he registered 17 points, 10 rebounds and 22 points, 16 rebounds. If my 2017-18 streamable.com account wasn’t permanently suspended, I’d happily show you examples of how he did it, too. BUT, for no reason it is suspended, and yes, I’m still very bitter.
New York: Emmanuel Mudiay, Tim Hardaway Jr, Enes Kanter, Mario Hezonja, Noah Vonleh
Detroit: Reggie Jackson, Reggie Bullock, Andre Drummond, Glenn Robinson III, Blake Griffin
Be sure to check in with the GameThread for up-to-date goings-on.
Find a way to win. Whether it’s a 30-point blowout or an edge-of-your-couch nailbiter, just get the W.
I think they do.
Whose dad enjoyed a better career: Tim Hardaway Jr. or Glenn Robinson III?
(FWIW, I thought it was a blowout in favor or Hardaway Sr until I double checked those Big Dawg scoring numbers, whoa.)