Another day, another game.
No one is quite sure what the Pistons are at this point, as their rotation changes from game to game and they've been without combo guard Brandon Jennings since January. Reggie Jackson is very good — better than most people expected he'd be outside of Oklahoma City — and his partner in crime, Andre Drummond, is a pretty fine player himself.
Rookie Stanley Johnson, who was linked to the Hornets in June, is having a poor season thus far with averages of 8.4 points and 3.9 rebounds in 21.6 minutes per game. He's shooting 30.5 percent from behind the arc and 37.5 percent from the field overall.
While the Pistons aren't a particularly great team, they match up extremely well with the Hornets and might present some problems for head coach Steve Clifford. Jackson is a big, strong guard, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is good despite a subpar season thus far, and Drummond is perhaps one of the best young big men in the league. In fact, Drummond's had 12 (!!!) games this season with 17 or more rebounds, and has scored under 15 points just four times. He's legit.
Oh, and Kemba Walker is listed as questionable for tonight's game, as according to media he's dealing with an illness of some sort. Don't expect to see him on the floor.
Two things to watch for
Who's guarding Drummond?
Drummond is, quite simply, a monster on both ends of the floor. He's as athletic and strong as any big in the league, and has gargantuan hands that allow him to catch lobs and snag rebounds without needing both of them. While the Hornets are without Al Jefferson tonight, Jefferson would not be able to guard Drummond effectively. You shouldn't expect Cody Zeller, Frank Kaminsky, Spencer Hawes, or Tyler Hansbrough to have an easy time tonight.
There will be oops. There will be blocks. One player can't stop Drummond. It's going to have to be a team effort.
Can the Hornets score?
While the Pistons' offense isn't great (they're bottom-10), their defense is fantastic, where they're in the top 10.
They don't foul often. The Pistons allow opponents to shoot just 20.2 free throws per game, which is fourth-best in the NBA (the Hornets, believe it or not, are one spot above them in this category). In addition, while opponents shoot relatively well from behind the arc against the Pistons, they don't attempt many 3-pointers. Because Drummond is an excellent help defender, the team feels comfortable playing up on opposing guards and letting him handle their mistakes. It's a good strategy. Y'know, if you have a player like Drummond.