After starting the season on the road in Twin Cities, our Detroit Pistons have their home opener tonight, facing the Cleveland Cavaliers. After losing the game against Minnesota in the final minutes, Detroit will seek its first victory. Coming off a home win in season opener, Cleveland is looking to make it two in a row to start the year.
This matchup of teams equally considered to be bottom dwellers, even if they came from their opening nights with unequal results, will develop through a multitude of high floor encounters.
When: 7 p.m. EST
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit
The first interesting encounter will take place in the middle, where Mason Plumlee will face former would-be Pistons’ franchise player in Andre Drummond. In his first game, scoring 14 points (on 7/8 shooting), grabbing eight boards and dishing six assists against, count them, ZERO turnovers, Mason made a strong claim that you can have a very productive center for around 7% of your salary cap. Now he’ll try to validate this claim against Dre, a player who, judging by the usage rate he exercises as a Cavalier (29.4%), continuously wants to prove that he’s worth a star player money.
Playing now with two dynamic point guards, one of which is an above average P&R ball handler (Collin Sexton is in the 65.6 percentile), you may be worried that Drummond can abuse Mason defensive capabilities. Detroit’s new center isn’t known for his ability to defend against playmakers attacking the basket off of switches.
But the combination of 2-3 zone and distribution of drop coverage and blitzing against P&Rs that Dwane Casey is applying this season should help Plumlee out in this matchup.
Pistons 2-3 zone
Pistons drop coverage
Another thing that should make it easier is the fact that Drummond continues his tendency of taking... not good shots and turning the ball over (19.5% turnover rate) with the Cavs.
Where Dre might really hurt us is on the glass. It’ll be difficult for Mason to match him here, as the former Piston started the defense of his rebounding title with a 30.4% rebound rate.
Another interesting encounter might be at the other of the power positions. Here Blake Griffin might face up with another great power forward of the generation in Kevin Love. Like Blake, the former Bruin is dealing with injuries these days, though in contrast to Blake, Love isn’t eager to play through them. However, he might be back tonight.
#Cavs HC J.B. Bickerstaff said he’s unsure about Kevin Love’s status for this weekend. He’s taking it day by day and monitoring the improvement before making that determination.— Chris Fedor (@ChrisFedor) December 23, 2020
We’ve mentioned the Cavs’ dynamic guard duo of Collin Sexton and Darius Garland. Their matchup with our big guard duo should constitute yet another interesting encounter tonight. Killian and Delon will need to stay alert on defense and use their height and length on offense. We probably won’t see our newest acquisition, Frank Jackson, help them in this endeavor tonight.
Finally, on the wings front, we may see some confrontation of young players with high upside whenever Sekou Doumbouya plays against Isaac Okoro. Sekou might be forced to be more creative against Okoro’s staggering defense and show something more than great off-ball cutting.
However, we’ll also be deprived of some other exciting confrontations. After missing practically his whole rookie season last year due to injury, Cleveland young wing Dylan Windler has fractured his left hand in Cavs’ opener. So we won’t be able to see him trying to learn Svi’s game while confronting him. We probably also won’t see Kevin Porter Jr. to continue our inner debate about why we drafted him for another team. Though the reasons why he’d miss the game could definitively end the whole debate.
Detroit Pistons (0-1):
Killian Hayes, Delon Wright, Jerami Grant, Blake Griffin, Mason Plumlee
Cleveland Cavaliers (1-0):
Darius Garland, Collin Sexton, Larry Nance Jr., Isaac Okoro, Andre Drummond
Have a good one my follow DBBers. Merry Christmas!!!