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Pistons vs. Hawks preview: Pistons need answers as they face another strong competitor

The Pistons tough schedule to start the season doesn’t ease up as they travel to Atlanta to face the Hawks.

NBA: Atlanta Hawks at Detroit Pistons Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Regardless of how good you thought the Detroit Pistons would be this season, the beginning of the season schedule was always going to be a struggle for this team. Playing without Cade Cunningham will just make it more difficult.

Many people thought Chicago was going to be good this year due to the additions they made in the offseason, but Atlanta is a good team who kept most of their roster intact, and many people think they will be back competing for the Eastern Conference Finals at the end of the season.

Coming off a bad loss to the Bulls where the Pistons looked bad at every aspect of basketball, this is going to be a tough game to bounce back in.

Game Vitals

When: 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: State Farm Arena in Atlanta, GA
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit or NBA League Pass
Odds: Pistons +10.5


The Atlanta Hawks return basically the same roster from last season that made it to the Eastern Conference Finals and gave the eventual NBA Champion Milwaukee Bucks a run for their money. While a few players at the end of the bench have been added or departed, their core is still intact.

They re-signed John Collins, gave Trae Young a lucrative extension, extended Kevin Heurter, and also have an additional year of development for their young players. They also added old friend Delon Wright, providing a solid backup for Trae Young. All of this means the Hawks should be as good or better than last year.

Cam Reddish has been fantastic off the bench for the Hawks. There were talks of the Hawks trading him in the offseason, but it is looking like keeping him around will pay off big for the Hawks this year. Reddish is averaging 19.5 points off the bench through 2 games.

One interesting thing to see in regards to Young is how he adjusts to the NBA cracking down on players jumping into defenders or stopping to initiate contact. Young became notorious for that move last season, so it will be interesting to see what he does to adjust. He is still one of the better point guards in the league even without those moves, but it might have a bit of an impact on his ability to score.

For the Pistons, they need to get their offense figured out. They have scored under 90 points in both games this season. Even though they are playing without Cade Cunningham, there is only so much the rookie can be expected to do to improve the offense. The team also announced that they won’t have Cunningham for the duration of this road trip.

The Pistons are not hitting their shots and not generating a lot of off-ball movement, which in turn is causing a lot of isolation basketball on a team full of players that aren’t really isolation players. The Pistons have shot 28 threes in both games this season, but have only hit 11 of them in total. That is not going to get the job done in the NBA in 2021.

The Pistons need to get better play from their point guards. Both Killian Hayes and Cory Joseph have not been good at all this season, and that is having a negative effect on the rest of the offense. Hayes in particular has struggled to make any shots and is still falling into some of the same habits he struggled with last year like fading on his shots and avoiding contact at the rim. Things should be a bit easier for them being guarded by Trae Young as opposed to Lonzo Ball.

Projected Lineups

Atlanta Hawks (1-1)

Trae Young, Bogdan Bogdanovic, DeAndre Hunter, John Collins, Clint Capela

Detroit Pistons (0-2)

Killian Hayes, Frank Jackson, Saddiq Bey, Jerami Grant, Isaiah Stewart

Question of the Day

What has been your biggest concern on offense through two games?