Celtics at Pistons: tonight's best player is...

Essentials

  • Teams: Boston Celtics (23-53) at Detroit Pistons (27-49)
  • Date: April 5, 2014
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: FSD+

What to look for

If a basketball game happens, but no one is there to see it, does it actually occur? We might find out tonight.

The Detroit Pistons will host the Boston Celtics tonight in the lone NBA contest featuring teams with losing records. Normally, that might be enough to get people to turn their attention to other ball clubs, but this night might offer more distractions than usual.

The Final Four will be played this evening, and it’s safe to say that many will at least have an eye on the college games. For those of you willing to bypass the NCAA in favor of Detroit and Boston, I offer an interesting way to look at tonight’s contest.

Ask yourself this when observing the game: which player is the best on the floor?

Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe could potentially be the answers to this question, but that’s a little too easy. Instead, we want to focus on four specific players that will be part of interesting head-to-head matchups.

Here are your candidates:

  • Brandon Jennings
  • Jeff Green
  • Josh Smith
  • Rajon Rondo

Rondo and Jennings have very different roles, but they will get opportunities to go at each other and run their respective teams. Based strictly off history, Rondo is the superior talent.

However, an argument could be made that Jennings has been better this season. Jennings has been a volume shooter more than anything, and he’s also been a decent setup man, which is on par with his entire career.

Rondo on the other hand hasn’t consistently demonstrated great synergy with his teammates, and he’s had trouble converting shots. Jennings and Rondo are both sub-40 percent shooters from the field, but Detroit’s point guard is putting up more points on average.

If asked last season which player was destined for a better 2013-14 season regardless of the surrounding pieces, most likely would have picked Rondo. And yet, the answer today is Jennings.

As far as the wings are concerned, a similar conversation comes up. Smith and Green share the same position, but have vastly different games. Green is supposedly a multi-faceted player capable of occupying both forward spots.

Early in his career, many could tell that Green had a little Shawn Marion or Lamar Odom in his game. Indeed, he offered athleticism, defense and even a bit of ball-handling.

Interestingly enough, that comparison is actually more accurate than many would probably want to accept. Green is a solid supporting player, but not someone that can be entrusted with carrying a huge offensive load on a nightly basis.

He struggles to create shots and isn’t much of a playmaker. Conversely, Smith has always had All-Star talent. Like Green, he offers comparable gifts to other hybrid forwards, but he’s left fans underwhelmed this season.

These four players make for an interesting game tonight, because either one of them could potentially dominate the contest and serve us with reminders about their talents.

They all tease us with a combination of developing skills that get athletes paid in this sport. In related news, each of them earns $8 million or more annually. Based strictly off the events of 2013-14, can we trust any of them for an 82-game schedule? Probably not.

But for a random night towards the end of the season? Absolutely.

I have Jennings as the best player tonight, and what’s your pick? Let us know in the comments.

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