Let the kids play in preseason finale

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Essentials

  • Teams: Atlanta Hawks (3-3) at Detroit Pistons (3-4)
  • Date: October 26, 2012
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Radio: 97.1 FM

What to look for

The Detroit Pistons were smoked in their last preseason game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, a contest that was played at the MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada).

The Timberwolves pretty much destroyed the Pistons on the interior and also submitted a solid defensive performance to take them out of their offense, as Pistons players kept clanking shots from every spot on the floor.

The third quarter proved to be a completely different game it seemed, as head coach Lawrence Frank had the Pistons play with a bit more intensity; but he also made a tactical adjustment in unleashing a zone defense that caught Minnesota completely off guard.

The end result was that Detroit got stops and then the players were able to get out in transition for high percentage shots after struggling for most of the night in the half-court.

The Pistons came back and made a game of it, but ultimately were still blown out because Frank wanted to play his starters for the entire period before inserting his bench players quite late in the third and early in the fourth quarter. Consequently, the energy that it took the Pistons to claw back had completely dissipated late in the third quarter, which in turn allowed the Timberwolves to seize control of the contest.

This is relevant going into the game tonight against the Hawks because Frank might want to take one last hard look at what his rotation will look like in the regular season given that this is Detroit’s final preseason game.

Pistons fans have been dying to see their head coach unleash the quintet of Brandon Knight, Rodney Stuckey, Jonas Jerebko, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond, and tonight may very well be the night he decides to give it a look against an athletic Atlanta Hawks frontline that features Josh Smith and Al Horford.

The assumption is that the group should mesh well offensively given the ball handling available coupled with players willing to move without the ball as well as the crisp passing that should also come with such a unit.

If there is one area of concern for this group though, it’s how they would fare defensively given that the unit is relatively young and thus could be foul prone, especially up front. But if this unit is going to get any type of burn in the regular season, it would be important to examine it beforehand in normal game situations “that don’t matter” in order to be able to gauge its effectiveness as well as its challenges.

I wonder if Frank has been afraid to give this unit a try simply out of fear that their youthful exuberance could make them get either too high or too low; without much of a middle ground. Such a point would be fair, but it’s worth seeing what these five players can accomplish together.

Consider this: if the quintet is even remotely good defensively, they’d get a plethora of transition opportunities, which would in turn change the momentum of a regular season game perhaps once or twice every night.

Ball is in your court coach…

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Tags: Andre Drummond Brandon Knight Greg Monroe Jonas Jerebko Lawrence Frank Rodney Stuckey

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