The Detroit Pistons look to end the NBA’s most ignominious current streak — being winless since trading for Blake Griffin against teams that have had at least a day of rest. They currently sit at 0-9 against rested teams since the blockbuster trade, which is decidedly not what they were hoping they were getting when trading for Griffin.
When: 7 p.m. EST
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit
It’s hard to believe there are a whole collection of professional NBA basketball teams that are worse right now than the Detroit Pistons, but it’s true. In fact there are about eight of them. Of course, those teams are effectively trying to lose games by emphasizing the development of young players. That is not where the Pistons have positioned themselves.
They are desperate to win. They are playing veterans up and down the roster, even at the expense of the development of young players Luke Kennard and Henry Ellenson. And they’re still not able to put wins together.
The Bulls have a -8.5 net rating in the past month because their offense is nonexistent, scoring just 101.5 points per 100 possessions. That can be laid at the feet of an absolute mess of a point guard rotation (sound familiar?). Kris Dunn and Cameron Payne both sport sub-50 true shooting percentages. Backcourt mates Zach Lavine (51.5%) and Denzel Valentine (44.8%) aren’t far behind. Jerian Grant has been the lone bright spot but the journeyman obviously can’t put an entire offense on his back.
Lauri Markkanen has also fallen harshly down into Earth’s orbit. The rookie who was dropping bombs from the perimeter effortlessly earlier this season is shooting just 26 percent from deep since Feb. 1.
As a team in essentially every major category, the Bulls are middling to bad. But with such a grinding offense they aren’t able to punish an opponent and eventually they slowly succumb to defeat.
This means the Pistons should win. It could be a nice night for Luke Kennard to get extended run as he won’t be as easy to expose on defense. The Pistons could cross match him against Chicago’s most obvious non-offensive threat and allow Reggie Bullock to take on whichever player seems to offer the most scoring punch.
I’m less certain of what Detroit’s big men will be able to do. Considering the decidedly non-beefy duo of Bobby Portis (update: Robin Lopez is starting) and Markkanen up front you’d think that Andre Drummond should control the boards and Griffin should be able to feast in the post and off dribble drives.
But Detroit just always seems to find a way to disappoint you in the most unexpected ways that you should have totally expected the entire time.
Ish Smith, Reggie Bullock, James Ennis, Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond
Kris Dunn, Zach Lavine, Justin Holiday, Lauri Markkanen, Robin Lopez
Will the Pistons break their winless streak against rested opponents tonight?