The Scouting Report: Detroit Pistons
Projected starting line-up: Reggie Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Caron Butler, Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond
New additions: Tayshaun Prince
Injuries: Brandon Jenning (torn achilles)
Departures: DJ Augustin, Kyle Singler
Yeah, the Detroit Pistons have had a pretty crazy season. First, it was all kinds of terrible. Then in a move that shocked everybody, they waived the highest paid player on their roster in Josh Smith. Waiving Smith in late December, however, proved to be exactly what the Pistons needed.
The Pistons went on a tear with Brandon Jennings going off and Greg Monroe playing like an All-Star. They went from looking like they were going to compete for one of the top picks in the NBA draft to threatening a playoff spot.
However, the injury to Jennings changed everything. We’ll always have San Antonio.
Despite the good play of back-up point guard DJ Augustin, the Pistons decided that it was time to go in another direction for the rest of the season in trading for disgruntled former Oklahoma City point guard Reggie Jackson.
They’ve now lost eight straight and the Blazers are being pretty generous in saying that the Pistons are fighting for a playoff spot. It’s technically true but they will have to go on a tear even better than the one they had after waiving Smith and need some help from the team’s currently in the playoff picture. So, no, they aren’t really a playoff team but they are a team that’s lost eight straight games and that alone is dangerous.
Andre Drummond will present problems on the boards. He just had 27 rebounds and he will test the Blazers defensive rebounding integrity. He’s a putback machine and although Monroe is the more skilled of the two, Drummond put together a very good performance against the Warriors. The big man tandem of Drummond and Monroe can find themselves in trouble defensively at times.
But overall on the season, that tandem holds about even against their opponents.
New addition Reggie Jackson isn’t exactly blowing the doors off but it’s still early in his Detroit tenure. But if they are giving they keys to him, he’s going to have to bring a little bit more than 37 percent shooting from the field and 23 percent shooting from the 3-point line. Those numbers should bounce back and his size is good defensively.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is improving his game and has played more minutes than anybody on Detroit’s roster. He doesn’t shoot it a lot but he’s still young and his numbers at this stage of his career are encouraging.
The Blazers will likely face another small second unit against the Pistons. Against the Warriors they played Tayshaun Prince at the power forward spot. Stotts rolled with Chris Kaman against Houston so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him stick with the rotation. Dorell Wright makes sense against Prince at the 4 but it’s Stotts and he’s continuously proven we can never guess what he’s gonna do with his minutes.
However, the Blazers have a great opportunity to get another important W that would bring them one game within the 2nd seed in the Western Conference. While it’s true seeding doesn’t really matter, especially in the first round of the West playoffs, it will be huge in the later rounds. The Blazers are already fighting an uphill battle without Matthews but since they hope to make a deep run, a higher seed is a much better set up.