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Pistons vs. Grizzlies preview: Two bad teams that are bad for similar reasons

The Pistons play one of their most “winnable” games trying to avoid the losing streak going to 18 games.

NBA: Detroit Pistons at Memphis Grizzlies Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

The Pistons and Grizzlies have both been bad this season. The reasons for each team being bad are somewhat similar, as both teams have been plagued by injuries in the early parts of the season. The Grizzlies also have to deal with the suspension of Ja Morant, which has caused even more issues for them.

Despite all of that, the Grizzlies are not the team entering this game with a 17 game losing streak. The Grizzlies are a pretty young team, but they have played high-end playoff basketball, so they at least know how to win so they aren’t going to have a double digit losing streak.

If the Pistons are going to put this losing streak to rest, this is the game to do it.

Game Vitals

Where: Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI
When: Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 7 pm EST
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons (+1.5)

Analysis

The scoring line on this game should tell you enough about the current state of the Pistons. Even terrible teams like the Pistons would be favored in a game like this at home, but their losing slide is so bad that they still are not favored.

Things are trending up a bit with the return of Bojan Bogdanovic on Saturday. While his presence wasn’t enough to steal a win against the Cavaliers, the team did look better, which was to be expected. We are probably still a month or so from a fully healthy Bogdanovic, but just the threat of a 40 percent 3-point shooter in the lineup should do wonders. Luckily, the Pistons are coming off of four days rest, so Bogdanovic had some time to rest up his calf after playing on it for the first time.

The Pistons have been playing Killian Hayes, Cade Cunningham, and Jaden Ivey together the last couple games and have gotten decent results. It probably isn’t a winning formula long term as they will get destroyed defensively by any team with size, but it has allowed Cade to play off-ball more and his efficiency is improving and his 3-point stroke is coming back. We will see if Monty Williams decides to stick with the 3 guards if he opts to start Bojan Bogdanovic over Isaiah Stewart. It could be a potential recipe for disaster defensively.

This game is actually the “consolation” portion of the In-Season Tournament for all the teams that didn’t make the big dance. I won’t pretend to understand how they determined the matchups, but I am assuming this one is because both these teams are not any good.

The Grizzlies’ struggles have been a bit of a surprise. They are obviously missing a lot of rotation players due to injury like Luke Kennard, Brandon Clarke, Steven Adams, Jake LaRavia, and Marcus Smart while also being without Ja Morant due to suspension; but this is a team that has been near the top of the West the last couple seasons. They have drafted pretty well and assembled a solid team with good depth, but that depth has been put to the test this season as any team would with the amount of players they have out.

Things are so bad for Memphis right now that they have Shaq Harrison and Jaylen Nowell on 10-day hardship contracts. Nowell even started for them in their loss to the Suns on Saturday.

The only bright spot for the Grizzlies this season has been Desmond Bane, who has reached another level after signing a lucrative contract extension this offseason. A lot of people questioned the extension, but he has proven to be worth it so far. He comes into this game averaging 23.8 points, 5.2 assists, and 4.4 rebounds. His shooting number are down, especially from 3-point range, where he is only shooting 36.9%. However, he has had to take on a huge offensive load with all the players they have out so it is to be expected that his efficiency would take a hit.

Jaren Jackson Jr. has struggled a bit having to take on the extra offensive load. His scoring is up, but he is only shooting 42 percent from the field and 28 percent from three. He also isn’t blocking as many shots as he comes into this game only averaging 1.8 per game, which is a huge drop-off from the 3 he averaged last season en route to Defensive Player of the Year.

This is a matchup between two teams with a lot of young players that are struggling due to the absence of a lot of their veterans. The Pistons have started to get theirs back, while the Grizzlies are still waiting. I won’t predict a Pistons win, but I have a good feeling about this game being the one to end this losing skid. Now we just wait for the inevitable Jaren Jackson Jr. slump buster where he hits 10 threes in a Grizzlies win.

Lineups

Detroit Pistons (2-18): Killian Hayes, Jaden Ivey, Cade Cunningham, Bojan Bogdanovic, Jalen Duren

Memphis Grizzlies (5-14): Derrick Rose, Desmond Bane, David Roddy, Jaren Jackson Jr, Bismack Biyombo

Question of the Day

Despite the Pistons being a complete non-factor in it, have you enjoyed the In-Season Tournament?