Saturday, October 24, 2015

Game Review: PS#8 - Atlanta Hawks

Box Score Recap

Standings [N/A]


- The Hawks, for very good reason, couldn't have cared less about last night's outcome.  I'm of the opinion that Millsap, Splitter, Horford, Teague, Korver, Sefolosha, Millsap and Bazemore will probably have an effect on the season opener.  I'm just an amateur though.  The Pistons sat Ilyasova, KCP and Reggie Jackson, but to make things even, they would've had to rest Drummond, Johnson, Morris and Bullock too to make this one fair.

- With the first takeaway as a caveat, the Pistons need to find a way to repeat the offensive style that they played with last night.  While shooting 43% from beyond the arc isn't going to be a nightly thing, the kind of ball movement we saw in this one can be.  You're not going to lose on many nights where you have 32 assists on 46 made field goals.

- The competition for the main share of the backup PG minutes is going to last until Brandon Jennings returns.  Steve Blake was a big part of the aforementioned ball movement last night.  Since this was his only preseason appearance, we're probably going to see SVG roll with whichever one shows a hot hand first on a game-by-game basis.  Spencer Dinwiddie had a few nice possessions in the first quarter as a scorer and spent the rest of the night in distribution mode.  He was okay, but Blake had the better night.  They both struggled with keeping the opposing PG in front of them, which could cause defensive problems for the second unit.  If Reggie Bullock hadn't emerged, I'd be calling for more Dinwiddie minutes off the ball.

- Stanley Johnson's shot selection is going to be an item to watch this year.  This shouldn't come as a huge shock considering he's a rookie with a confident personality, but he needs to know when to keep himself in check.  There were a few head-scratchers, especially in the first half, highlighted by a 27-footer with plenty of time left on the shot clock.  He's not anywhere near Josh Smith trigger-happy, and I'd rather have this problem than him being too timid, but this has the potential to derail the offense on nights when his shot's not falling.

- Reggie Bullock continues to get my hopes up.  He's obviously not going to shoot 50% from three for the season like he has in the preseason, and that's not what has me excited for him as a rotation piece anyways.  I'm looking forward to seeing his defense and heady play carry forward into the regular season.  He always seemed to be moving off the ball and matched nine preseason assists with only one turnover.  He should be what we were expecting Cartier Martin to be last season: good depth and outside shooting at both wing spots, with some hustle plays added into the mix.

- The wheels haven't fallen off of Andre Drummond's offensive game yet.  He had a couple nice hook shots, and took Edy Tavares off the dribble for a lay-up from a face-up just above the elbow.  Tavares moves like he's got bricks for feet, so I don't expect that latter thing to continue.  Tavares is also 7'3 with a 7'9 wingspan and still had a hard time challenging Drummond in the post when he was physical and used his body to his advantage.  There are going to be nights when his jump hook isn't falling, but those should be less frequent than last year.


What is this?  Similar to how the NHL hands out three stars after a game, I'll be handing out points to any Piston who saw at least 20 minutes of playing time.  Just like in hockey, you want to be the 1st star, so getting 1 point is better than getting, say, 6.  I do my best to watch all 82 games, but it's not always possible.  I will make it known if I did not watch the game being graded.  This takes as much into consideration as possible: stats, eye test, intangibles, etc.  It's just how I saw things shake out.  I'll keep a running set of standings updated at the bottom of every game recap; remember, the lower average the better. 

1 - Marcus Morris: Hard to argue with 17 points on 10 field goal attempts.  Added 3 assists, a steal and a block with only one turnover.  He lands first for overall results, but I continue to want to throw a brick at my TV every time I see him load up for a step-back 20-footer with 10 seconds left on the shot clock.  That's probably going to be my only complaint about Morris all year though, unless the technicals come at painful times.  Otherwise, he's a big upgrade to the SF spot.

2 - Stanley Johnson: As mentioned above, Johnson had some issues with shot selection in the first half.  He was better at focusing his offensive aggression in the second half, and that came with improved results.  He was 4-6 from the field in the final two quarters (3-8 in the first), and he highlighted it with a nice dunk on a baseline drive.  On a smaller, but equally encouraging note, he didn't notch a single foul in 28 minutes.

3 - Reggie Bullock: Bullock knocked down his open shots, moved well off the ball and looked good in KCP's starting SG spot.  He's earned a spot in the rotation for the regular season.

4 - Jodie Meeks: Made 3-6 beyond the arc and 4-5 from inside of it.  This is what the Pistons need from him on a more consistent basis in 2015-16.  He had a nice baseline cut and reverse lay-up that he got to the glass before Tavares could smother it.

5 - Steve Blake: Blake's ball movement kept the ball rolling when the starters came off the floor and Andre Drummond rested during the second half.  He didn't shoot the ball well, but I thought his form looked good and he got some unkind bounces.

6 - Spencer Dinwiddie: Dinwiddie was at his best moving towards the basket and pulling up for mid-range jumpers.  His statline looked solid, but he struggled to keep Mack and Schroeder in front of him on defense.  I'd like to see him play more minutes off the ball.

7 - Anthony Tolliver: Tolliver didn't have a bad night, but he falls at the bottom of the list because everybody else played so well.

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