The Scouting Report: Detroit Pistons

In an attempt to help you get to know the Blazers opponent each night, we are going to post a little bit of a scouting report of each team on the blog before each game. Monday’s opponent are the Detroit Pistons (2-3). Tip off will be at 7 PM at the Moda Center and the game will be shown on CSNNW. Radio: 620 AM.

Projected starting line-up: Brandon Jennings, Chauncey Billups, Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond

New faces: New head coach Maurice Cheeks (ASSISTANT COACH RASHEED WALLACE!), Jennings (trade with Milwaukee), Billups, first-round pick Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Peyton Siva (draft), Tony Mitchell (draft), Luigi Datome (signed from Italy)

The last time Pistons’s GM Joe Dumars had a bunch of cap room, things didn’t go so well after they gave big-time deals to Ben Gordon, since traded, and Charlie Villanueva, who is still on the team.

Dumars built a perennial contender behind Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Ben and Rasheed Wallace and co. in the 2000s.

What followed that terrible offseason we’re a bunch of trips to the lottery and a team that was uninspiring at best.

This offseason, at least right now, looks to be much better as Dumars coupled some good offseason moves with other young talent the Pistons have accumulated through the draft. And their starting center became the poster boy for internet romance.

Dumars added Brandon Jennings in a trade and signed Josh Smith to a 4-year $54 million deal in free agency. By adding Jennings and Smith, not only did they add talent, but both are left-handed. Smith and Jennings join fellow lefty Greg Monroe to form the only starting line-up with three lefties in the league. Both pretty funky and pretty fun.

Josh Smith has been very three-happy since the start of the season with the Pistons. I think I just heard a group of Hawks fans yelling “I TOLD YOU SO!” Smith leads the team in three-point attempts and shooting it so far at 28.7 percent, he clearly shouldn’t be.

Despite Smith’s three-happy state, the Pistons have been pretty good on offense. They currently have the league’s 8th most efficient offensive attack.

One area where the Pistons thrive is off their passing and cutting. Jennings and Smith are both very good cutters to the basket. Greg Monroe is one of the best passing big men in the league and Smith’s passing is also an often underrated skill of his game.

Another area where Smith, Monroe and starting center Andre Drummond have helped the offense is on the offensive glass, where the Pistons are third in the league in offensive rebound percentage, which calculate the percentage of available rebounds grabbed by a team.

Monroe is averaging 17.8 points and 11.8 rebounds and alongside him Drummond is averaging 9.8 points and 9.6 rebounds. So, although the Blazers were happy with how they’ve rebounded on a defensive end, they face a major challenge tonight in that respect with Drummond, Monroe and Smith.

Another player to watch for the Pistons is the Italian forward Datome.

And not just because of this hilarious vine he is in with Andre Drummond:

Cheeks has brought him in with second units as a stretch-4 to give those units some extra spacing. He hasn’t made any of his threes yet this season but that could change very soon.

Detroit has a trio of guards that will all likely get their shot at Damian Lillard in Rodney Stuckey, Jennings and Will Bynum.

The Pistons are a weird, but fun team and their size and rebounding will challenge the Blazers.

Let’s see how they answer.

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