The Pick: Nets 101-93
Does someone really have to win this game? The Nets have been a mess this season as their age and inexperience together has proven difficult to overcome, while the Pistons are struggling to find consistency with their oddly-constructed roster. I can’t say that it is overly surprising that these teams have struggled out of the gate.
The Nets’ immediate future is brighter as Deron Williams and Brook Lopez are both considered day-to-day, while the Pistons’ situation is heading in the wrong direction as Josh Smith was held out of the starting lineup on Friday for missing practice.
Both teams rank in the bottom half of the league in offense and defense, but if the Nets get their star players back, I see them matching up better at both ends.
In the backcourt, Williams, Joe Johnson and Shaun Livingston have the type of size and versatility to give Detroit’s guards fits. Brandon Jennings is an inefficient playmaker that will be giving away considerable size regardless of who starts for Brooklyn, something that will make initiating this offense even more of a struggle than normal.
Chauncey Billups is 37-years old that is battling a nagging knee injury and is 13th on his team in PER, while Rodney Stuckey has nearly as many turnovers as assists this season. The Pistons rank dead last in the league in FG% against with 48.1 percent, and I trust veteran scorers like Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett to exploit that and score more than the 19 points they average.
On the other side of the ball, the Nets have the type of mean interior defenders that can have success against Detroit’s talented front line. Andre Drummond has been remarkably efficient from the field at 66.4 percent shooting, but if I’ve learned anything from watching Garnett defend in the past, it is that he will push the envelope with physicality, something that should limit the effectiveness of the Pistons’ young stud.
Either KG will body him up and makes his FG attempts more difficult, or he hacks him and tests his 24 percent free throw shooting. J-Smoovh is as inconsistent of an offensive player as there is in the league, and if he’s not getting easy buckets, then I refuse to consider him a dangerous offensive option.
Fun Fact: Brooklyn has been considerably more competitive at home this season while the Pistons have won just one of their six road games this season. The Pistons average the most offensive rebounds per game, but the third fewest amount of defensive rebounds.