When: 7:00 pm EST
Where: Spectrum Cetner; Charlotte, NC
How to watch: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
After an eight day layoff, the Hornets are back on our television screens tipping off a brief three game home stand before heading back out onto the road. They start the second half of their similarly to the way they ended the first half—against a very bad team.
The Pistons come into tonight’s meeting with the worst record in the Eastern Conference and fresh off the departure of their most high profile player. They’re 10-26 and they’ve won just two of their last nine games. They’re only 4-16 on the road.
The Pistons were never expecting to compete this year, and that was reinforced by an early season injury to rookie Killian Hayes (not that he was playing particularly well anyway) and very ineffective play by Blake Griffin, who probably should have been their best player. They then shipped Derrick Rose off to New York, leaving them as an island of misfit toys.
The best of those toys has been Jerami Grant, who sneakily should be the front runner for the NBA’s Moct Improved Player. He inked a 3-yar, $60 million contract over the offseason in a move that was universally labeled a massive overpay. After all, he had come off the bench for over half of his career game and was a bench piece (albeit a very good one) for much of his lone season with the Nuggets. He’s proved everyone but the Pistons wrong and is averaging career highs in points (23.4), rebounds (5.3), and assists (2.9).
To show you how unheralded Grant’s season has been and how underwhelming the rest of the Pistons roster is, this is the headline on ESPN’s preview of the game: Bey, Pistons take on the Hornets. Bey is rookie Saddiq Bey, who is having a good rookie season but is hardly worthy of being the leading player associated with a team. Elsewhere they have players like Mason Plumlee being kinda good, Wayne Ellington making 3-pointers, and Josh Jackson and Dennis Smith Jr. trying to stay in the league.
On the Hornets side of things, it looks like they’ll be getting some reinforcements, as Devonte’ Graham is listed as probable after dealing with knee pain. Cody Zeller isn’t listed on the injury report, so it looks like he’ll be back in action as well. That means we’ll get the Hornets at full strength for the first time in what feels like forever.
A meeting with the Pistons is a perfect opportunity for the Hornets to get the second half of the season started on the right foot. A big win tonight will be good for the confidence of the team heading into a notably more difficult stretch in the schedule starting next week.