Zach Harper from the great T-Wolves blog A Wolf Among Wolves asked Jared Dubin, editor of the also great Hardwood Paroxysm, and I to participate in a 3-on-3 roundtable prior to tonight’s Pistons-Timberwolves game.
One of the questions — In a regular season game with both teams healthy, what would be your most important matchup between these two teams? — will be a really interesting one as both of these teams have some intriguing young talent. There were many different ways to go with this — Monroe-Love, Drummond-Pekovic, Stuckey-Roy or even Prince-Kirilenko if you like skinny, long-armed guys.
I chose the point guard matchup with my response:
Hayes: The easy answer is Greg Monroe-Kevin Love, but those guys are both consistently good and I assume they’d play well against each other most nights. For me, it’s Brandon Knight-Ricky Rubio. Knight is the wildcard of Detroit’s young players. Monroe is already a known commodity and very close to being an All-Star level player. For Drummond, his elite talent is unquestioned, he’s been dogged by whether or not he can maximize his obvious physical gifts. Knight, however, is much more polarizing. His work ethic and maturity make him easy to root for, but his production, both as a college and professional player, suggest he might not be the above average starting point guard the Pistons hope he is. Knight has reportedly spent his offseason working on his passing, decision-making and ability to run an offense as more of a traditional point guard. I’m interested to see how he plays against players like Rubio, a natural pass-first player, this season. If Knight can do some of the things Rubio does for his team when healthy, the Pistons have a chance to be significantly better. If he can’t, they’re clearly headed back to the lottery.
Dubin: I can’t choose between Rubio-Knight, Love-Monroe and Pekovic-Drummond, so I’m going to say it’s the wing matchup between Brandon Roy, Andrei Kirilenko, Alexei Shved and Chase Budinger and Rodney Stuckey, Tayshaun Prince, Corey Maggette and Austin Daye. That’s a bit of a cop-out, I know, but there are a bunch of intriguing cross-matches there. Stuckey and Roy are the combo guards that take you off the bounce. Kirilenko and Prince can match each other limb for limb. Daye and Budinger present an interesting contrast in styles and athleticism, as do Shved and Maggette. None of these guys is the number one option for either team, but if any stepped up and took control, it could decide the outcome.
Harper: I think I’d definitely have to go with Knight vs Rubio as my matchup. There were some fun moments from the Wolves’ home game against the Pistons last year, but with the experience both players gained from their first season, I’d love to see a second season showdown between both point guards. I really like what I’ve seen from Knight in a scoring sense and he’s learning how to run the offense when he’s called to do so. For Rubio, I like watching his defense against scoring guards like Knight. They both have a lot of ability and I think it could steal the show. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to be crying in the corner.
We also discussed Andre Drummond and whether or not the Pistons need to add more veteran players in the other topics.