What: Detroit Pistons vs. Atlanta Hawks
Where: Phillips Arena Atlanta GA
The Detroit Pistons get back at it a night after a 99-87 loss in Orlando that left head coach Stan Van Gundy questioning their effort. The Pistons look to get back at it in Atlanta to face the Hawks. As usual, I have three things to look for in this 2nd to last preseason game before the season opener.
1.) Brandon Jennings‘ shooting
I harp on it all the time, Jennings is this team’s X-Factor. When Jennings plays well and he’s knocking down shots, then the Pistons are going to play well and win games. So far this preseason, he’s shooting 11/44 from the field good for 25% shooting. The point guard spot is such a critical spot on a successful basketball team, and the NBA itself is a point guard driven league, Jennings’ shooting has been a train wreck this preseason. Van Gundy won’t hesitate to go to backup D.J. Augustin who’s coming off strong back-to-back efforts against Charlotte and Orlando.
2.) Execution in the 4th quarter
In three of the five preseason games, the Pistons execution in the 4th quarter has been subpar. Against Chicago, they blew a 4-point lead at home in the final 20 seconds. Then they gave up a game winning dunk against the Wizards and last night they fell apart in the 4th that allowed the Magic to put the game away. Yes this a re-worked roster, but the main core has had a season of playing together. Detroit has two preseason games left, I want to see better execution in the 4th when the game is on the line.
3.) The frontline
We saw one terrific game from the jumbo frontline against Charlotte and one not-so-terrific game last night against Orlando. The Josh Smith-Greg Monroe-Andre Drummond frontline has a lot of potential to be really good and it’s up to Van Gundy to unlock all that potential and make it work. Van Gundy has the option of bringing one of them off the bench obviously, but I think he wants to try and make this work. For all of his faults ladies and gentlemen, Josh Smith is a pretty damn good basketball player who should have been an All-Star in his time with the Hawks. It’s going to be interesting to see what SVG does with these three very talented big men.