On Thursday, December 21st, the Detroit Pistons will play the Utah Jazz in Little Ceasars Arena
This should be a fun, winnable game for the Detroit Pistons. Initially last season, teams didn’t know how to plan for a Utah team overhauled in the offseason. Then, teams developed solid scouting reports, and Utah’s meteoric rise fell to earth. They became the team they were expected to be. Nonetheless, Lauri Markkanen enjoyed a breakout season, and this summer, Danny Ainge acquired John Collins in another savvy move.
The Jazz have a bright future, but the Pistons should be entering their long-awaited present. These are the games Detroit needs to win to take proper steps forward, games against other rebuilding teams.
I expect Bojan Bogdanovic to want to put up big numbers against his former team, and Detroit should look to run him through off-ball screens to get him catch-and-shoot opportunities.
A defensive-minded guard lineup, which the Pistons have no matter who’s on the floor, should disrupt a Collin Sexton and Jordan Clarkson backcourt.
Markkanen’s height should match up interestingly against Ausar Thompson’s speed and athleticism. I’m interested to see if Utah looks to get the right switch for Markkanen, and who would that be? Isaiah Stewart and Jalen Duren are both athletic enough to force him to drive, but he can shoot over the top of a guard.
Games like this, where the opposition has a clear advantage in a specific area but not a clear advantage overall, will show Detroit’s team defense.