Like its city, Pistons basketball has been in decline for some years. This season Detroit was expected to be bottom of the table (as they say in footie circles), & at 2-10, there they languish. They were defeated in Orlando on Wednesday, after a Raptor-like meltdown in Q3 in which they scored 8 points, ending with a sad 74.
The Pistons have drafted poorly, despite early choices. Their veterans are either past their prime, like Tayshaun Prince & Corey Maggette, or never had one, like Charlie Villenueva & Jason Maxiell. They have one emerging star, Centre Greg Monroe, from the Georgetown University big man factory. He’s compelled to carry a huge load, which may be tempered somewhat should Andre Drummond emerge as the defensive force many expect him to be. The Raps passed on Drummond in favour of Terrence Ross, fearing that Andre had all the physical skills but not the other kind. So far, Andre appears to be passing the test, averaging 6 PPG & 4+ RPG in 15 minutes of work. Austin Daye is another Detroit disappointment. A tall, skinny long-range shooter now in his third season, he’s shown no progress. Jonas Jerebko, the pride of Sweden, seems to have regressed. He has lost his job to rookie Kyle Singler, out of Duke, who’s giving the Detroit faithful some hope with his whirlwind play.
However, even a .500 record in the NBA is out of reach when a team’s guard play is as weak as the Pistons’. They have been waiting for Rodney Stuckey to emerge as a quality Point for years; I think they’re dreaming. Will Bynum is built like Kyle Lowry, but hits 3-balls at a 25% rate. I’ll take our guy, thanks. Brandon Knight may be their best hope. In his second year, he’s not been shooting well, but his assists are up.
The Raps enter this game with no excuses. Lowry should be fully healthy & ready to lead. If Jonas Valanciunas can maintain his high level of play against Monroe, or even just neutralize him, the Raps should be able to put this game in the win column. At just over 92 PPG, the Pistons are one of the lowest-scoring teams; the Raps are tracking at 96+. There’s your score: Raptors 96 – Pistons 92.
Brian Boake is a staff writer for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.