The Detroit Pistons face off against the young Atlanta Hawks and Trae Young today at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. The Pistons recently ended a five-game losing streak with a 103-96 win over the Orlando Magic. The Hawks are a young, rebuilding team who have won just three of its 11 games. That doesn’t mean the Hawks are a pushover, however, as they have the kind of offense that could give the Pistons fits.
When: Nov. 9, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: State Farm Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit+, NBA League Pass
The Hawks aren’t good at much one month into the season, but there are a few things that give me pause. One, the Hawks love to shoot 3s — they currently rank fourth in the NBA in 3-point attempt rate. Two, their offense is almost entirely powered by its guards and the Pistons can definitely struggle with penetrating guards.
Trae Young is leading the Hawks in scoring at 18.6 points per game and averaging 8.1 assists with a healthy (for a rookie) better than 2-to-1 assist to turnover ratio. Kent Bazemore is probably the next most important person in the back court. He shoots a lot, handles the ball a lot and is among the only semi-efficient scorers in the starting lineup.
Detroit is powered by its big men — Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond. Drummond should win his matchup vs. Alex Len, who is scoring an efficient but minor 10.5 points per game, but just 5.4 rebounds. That number is actually second best on the team behind Dwayne Dedmond’s 5.9 rebounds per game.
The two combined get outrebounded by Drummond 6.3 rebounds per game. LOL.
As a team, Atlanta is bottom-5 in offensive rebound percentage and bottom-8 in defensive rebound percentage. This will allow Detroit, the best defensive rebounding team in the NBA, to play to its strengths. And I’m not sure Atlanta has anyone who can guard Griffin. I expect/hope for a monster game out of Blake tonight.
Still, there is a small part of me that fears the breakout game for Trae or a Jeremy Lin is prime trade bait after he goes Spencer Dinwiddie on the Pistons.
Reggie Jackson, Reggie Bullock, Glenn Robinson III, Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond
Trae Young, Kent Bazemore, DeAndre’ Bembry, Omari Spellman, Alex Len
Question of the Day
What will Blake Griffin’s final stat line look like? Points, rebounds, assists, free-throw attempts, 3-point makes?