Coming off a much-needed victory against the lowly Orlando Magic, Detroit welcomes one of the league’s best teams, the Utah Jazz, to Little Ceasers Arena tonight. After an up and down week, Detroit will look to string together consecutive wins for the second time this season. The Jazz enters on the final night of a five-game road trip, battling COVID-related absences of their own, they will be without; 3 x DPOY big-man, Rudy Gobert and key-veteran wing Joe Ingles.
When: 7 p.m. ET
Where: Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +11
The 2021-22 Utah Jazz offense is simply a thing of beauty. This iteration of the Jazz is currently on pace for the 8th best offensive rating of all time, with a league-leading rating of 116.8. A full 3 rating points ahead of the second-place Golden State Warriors who have an offensive rating of 113.0.
The Salt Lake City offense is built on elite pick and roll play and flanked by elite shooting. The Jazz lead the league in points per possession on pick and roll play types, as well as being a top-6 three-point shooting team in the league, converting on 36.9% of outside looks.
However, for all the beauty in Utah’s offense, the Jazz go as far as spearhead guard Donovan Mitchell drives them. After a career year a season ago, the two-time All-Star continues to stake his claim as one of the elite shot creators in the NBA. Mitchell is able to constantly bend NBA defenses with his ability to stop on a dime and explode to the rim in the blink of an eye. While the counting stats have stayed relatively the same this season, the former Louisville Cardinal is posting a career-high net rating of 10.4.
Utah will be without the aforementioned Gobert, which should come to the delight of the Detroit coaching staff. Coach Quin Snyder has built a defense that focuses on defending the three-point line and funneling opponents towards the basket, utilising the elite rim protection of Gobert.
The absence of Gobert should provide additional driving lanes for a Detroit Pistons’ team that ranks second-last in the league for at rim finishing. In their past three games without the Frenchmen, Utah has stumbled to a 1-2 record, with surprising losses to the Toronto Raptors and Indiana Pacers.
However, it would be foolish to take a team lightly that Detroit has not beaten since the 25th of January, 2016...that's 5 years, 11 months and 16 days. In terms of win/loss, the Jazz currently holds a 10 game winning streak over the Pistons. Therefore, with some key players missing, this could be a great opportunity to knock off a vulnerable Jazz team.
In order for Detroit to have a shot at a W, they will need improved production from the starting backcourt duo of Cunningham and Hayes. In the team’s past 10 games the pair have combined for 18.5 points, 10.1 assists and 5.5 turnovers, while shooting below 38% from the field and 25% from three. To say it’s been rough would be an understatement, an offensively challenged team such as Detroit needs more efficient play from the young guard combo.
Finally, it appears fans will have to wait until at least Tuesday’s game, against the Chicago Bulls, for the debut of recently acquired wing Bol Bol:
Wouldn't expect to see Bol Bol tomorrow. Friday is probably more realistic, but could see Tuesday being possible depending on how quickly things move https://t.co/uIkwzGZJT1— Omari Sankofa II (@omarisankofa) January 9, 2022
Projected Starting Lineups
Utah Jazz (28-12)
Mike Conley, Donovan Mitchell, Royce O’Neale, Bojan Bogdanovic, Hassan Whiteside
Detroit Pistons (8-30)
Killian Hayes, Cade Cunningham, Hamidou Diallo, Saddiq Bey, Isaiah Stewart
Question of the Day
What are your expectations for Bol Bol this season?