Things aren’t getting any easier for the Detroit Pistons.
When the Golden State Warriors arrive in Little Caesar’s Arena, they’ll arrive with one of the greatest coaches to ever lead a team, the greatest shooter in the history of basketball, and a Michigan native who is the team’s heart and soul and the team’s defensive fulcrum. The Warriors, simply put, are the greatest team of the last decade.
This year, they’re off to a hot start. Although their core is getting older, they play an intellectual form of basketball that relies on skill more than athleticism. Constant movement and conditioning is a must, but they utilize patience more than the ability to explode to the hoop.
What will the Deroit Pistons need to do to make a good showing against this team?
How the Detroit Pistons can beat the mighty Golden State Warriors
First, Detroit will need to play focused defense on Steph Curry. Between Killian Hayes, Marcus Sasser, and Jaden Ivey, Detroit should keep Steph constantly moving. Curry loves to move off the ball and cut through screens to catch and shoot. The Piston guards need to fight through those screens, anticipate the movement, and keep someone in front of Curry.
Deny the switch and force Curry to take uncomfortable shots. Guarding a player like Curry is a great opportunity for a young defender to improve focus and discipline. This could be a great opportunity for Jaden Ivey to put his athleticism to work (if he plays) on the defensive end of the court and to show what he’s capable of.
Second, Detroit should look to pound the paint. Kevon Looney is a savvy veteran who plays smart basketball, but he doesn’t have the athleticism that Jalen Duren, MB3, or James Wiseman have. Monty Williams knows Dario Saric, Looney’s backup, and Williams should be able to put his young players in positions to succeed against Saric’s tendencies.
Isaiah Stewart should take his matchup against Draymond Green personally. I realize Beef Stew takes every game and every possession personally, but my point here is that he won’t only be looking to put pressure on Draymond’s ability to impact the game, to anticipate passing lanes, and to keep Green out of the offensive action by being aware that Green looks to facilitate more than he looks to score. Stewart will also be looking to make a similar impact, to mimic Draymond’s defensive awareness, to switch when necessary but anticipate the offensive rotations in order to avoid defending out of position, and to act as a screener who then turns to insert himself into the play.
Beef Stew can be this player, and I think he will be in a year or two. Games like these against high-level competition lay the groundwork for this young team’s development.
Thirdly, Detroit should run Golden State off the three-point line. Detroit is long and young. They should use their length and athleticism to force Golden State to penetrate, where Detroit’s bigs can protect the rim.
When GSW penetrates, however, they use off-ball movement to create open perimeter looks. They find most of their shots in the first or last seven seconds of the shot clock. If Detroit manages to limit turnovers and stays disciplined in transition, they can’t give up on the plays late in the shot clock.
By defending for a full twenty-four seconds, Detroit should be able to influence, if not control, the pace.
I believe Detroit has a fighting chance any night of the week. On a Monday night in downtown Detroit, I wouldn’t bet on a visiting team. Golden State is a tough beat, but Detroit has all the necessary tools.
How to watch Pistons vs. Warriors
The game in Little Caesar’s Arena will tip off at 7:00 PM ET and you can watch on Bally Sports Detroit or listen on 97.1 FM The Ticket. The game will be streamed on NBA League Pass if you are out of market. You can also take advantage of a free trial at FUBOtv.