The 3-9 Brooklyn Nets, losers in six of their last seven games, travel home for just the fifth time this season to take on the 4-8 Detroit Pistons in a 2 P.M. afternoon matinee in Brooklyn.
The Pistons are one of the league’s more oddly constructed teams. Detroit built almost exclusively through the draft for years, drafting Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond, Brandon Knight, Jonas Jerebko, and even Tayshaun Prince once upon a time. But in the last year, they’ve shipped out much of their home-grown talent and signed on to mediocrity, signing the erratic Josh Smith and Brandon Jennings to multi-year deals.
Smith in particular is an interesting case. The poor outside shooter has played power forward most of his career, with coaches who can’t convince him to stop shooting outside shots. But in Detroit, Smith has played mostly small forward next to Monroe and Drummond, allowing him free reign from the outside — free reign that has resulted in a 29% three-point percentage on over five three-pointers per game and a similar pattern for midrange shots. Truthfully, Brooklyn’s best hope might be that Smith shoots the Pistons out of this one.
But the Pistons still present a dangerous matchup for Brooklyn; Andre Drummond is precisely the type of big man that the Nets don’t have an answer for — a young, athletic center who can dunk on anything in his path.
The Pistons might have the advantage over the once-again shorthanded Nets, who will rest Deron Williams (ankle), Brook Lopez (ankle), Andrei Kirilenko (back), and Jason Terry (knee) in today’s contest. Williams has sat all but two quarters since November 15th, Lopez the entire time. Kirilenko was not expected to play on the team’s road trip, but hopes to return soon with what he calls the worst back spasms of his career. After bruising the knee, Terry played in Wednesday’s loss to the Charlotte Bobcats, but will rest for the second straight game tonight.