THE SCOUTING REPORT
As always, from Mr. HighTops:
Detroit’s Pistons aren’t hitting on all Cylinders
With a season record of (18-32) and currently in last place in the Central Division of the Eastern Conference, the Piston could be next on the list of road victims for the Kings. Detroit is 29th in PPG (91) and 28th in Pts Differential (-5.25). Since Jan. 1st they’re 7-11 with only 2 wins against teams above .500, NOH & BOS, and 5 wins against the bottom dwellers in the East. Two wins came against NJN, 1 came against the NYN, 1 against WAS, and last nights win in MIL.
Offensively, Detroit is the worst 3P% team in the league and is the 2nd worst FG% team. Defensively, they’re 20th in rebounding, and 28th in shot blocking. They don’t turnover the ball very often (10th fewest) but like the Kings they foul a lot (6th most to Kings 3rd most). Wallace and Charlie V. are the top shot blockers averaging 2.0 per game between them. And, they have no one shooting over 33% from 3pt range; Charlie V (.328) and Gordon (323) are their best.
You should be familiar with most of the starters, Tayshaun Prince, Ben Wallace, Richard Hamilton, and Rodney Stuckey. New to the line up is Swedish born Rookie Jonas Jerebko, a 6’10" 230 lb. PF/SF who was drafted 9th in the 2nd round of the 09 Draft one pick after the Kings took Jon Brockman. Like Donte, Jonas can score at the rim or from the 3. He’s scoring about 8.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg, on .487% FG%. Jerebko will be joining Sacramento Kings teammates Omar Casspi and Tyreke Evans in the Rookie Challenge game All-Star Weekend. Prince has seen his PER’s drop to only 9.1, and scores just 8.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg on 36% field and 22% from 3. Hamilton and Stuckey are the leading scorers and assist guys, averaging 17.9 ppg and 4.8 apg each. Anchoring the center is Big Ben Wallace, who puts up 7.8 ppg, and 7.8 rpg and rebounds well at both ends of the court. He blocks about 1.4 per game, and scores exclusively at the rim shooting 61% with the majority off assists. His major weakness is .421 FT%, so feel free to foul him any time or any where on the court.
Off the bench, Detroit has Charlie Villanueva a 6’11" 4th year pro who was taken 7th in the 2005 NBA draft by Toronto. Charlie V averages 12.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg on 42% shooting. Backup PF/Center Jason Maxiell is a 6’7" 260 pounder who puts up 8.6 ppg and 4.4 rpg on 57% shooting. Will Bynum a 6’0" 185 lb. 2nd year pro backs up Stuckey at PG. He puts up decent numbers 8.6 ppg, 4.3 apg, and 2.2 rpg on 45% shooting but only shoots 12.5% from 3pt range and only hits 56% of his FT’s. Ben Gordon backs up Prince and has good range and shoots at a good percentage over the entire floor, averaging 11.4 ppg, 2.1 apg, on 39% shooting.
The match up at point guard between Stuckey and Evans should be interesting. If Tyreke is the ultimate big PG, then Stuckey was the proto type. Stuckey the 2nd year pro is 6’ 5" 205 lbs, and scores at 50% on his 6 FGA’s at the rim but only shoots between 33-39% on his 9 shots between 10-23ft. You can let him have all the 3’s he wants; his TS% from beyond the arc is an embarrassing 22.8%
Detroit isn’t the team they thought they’d be in the preseason. Injuries to Prince, Hamilton, Ben Gordon, Will Bynum and Chucky Atkins have kept them out of the playoff race. The fact that most if not all are starting to play like they did in the preseason, gives a glimmer of hope that they still might make up the 7 game deficit and overtake the 6,7 & 8 playoff teams who are at .500 or less. But, hopefully the complete recovery won’t happen until after the all-star break, so the Kings can get out of town with their first back to back road wins of the season.
Detroit has only scored more than 94 pts 4 times in the last 18 games and only one was over 100. The Kings are 15-18 when they score 100+ points, and 2-16 when scoring less than 100 points. So, the fact that the Kings have averaged 109 ppg and scored over 100 in all 5 games this month, offers some promise for another Kings road win.
The Kings are 3-17 when their opponent’s bench outscores the Kings bench
The Kings are 14-17 when their bench ties or outscores the opponents bench
The Kings are 12-10 when they have as many or more FT attempts than opponents
The Kings are 5-24 when they have less FT attempts than opponents
When the Kings don’t out rebound their opponents, their winning percentage is 25%
When the Kings do out rebound their opponents, their winning percentage is 43.5%
After the NY win the Kings winning percentage is 33%
So for the Kings to win, their bench needs to score over 100pts at the FT line and out rebound the Pistons. Forgive the stats geek humor.
THE KEY BATTLE
Kevin Martin vs. Rip Hamilton. Hamilton has been simply awful this season, needing about 17 FGAs a game to get about 17 points. Brutal, considering Rip was once a model of efficiency. He and Rodney Stuckey have struggled, as has Martin. We'll see if the overtime explosion Tuesday bodes well for the rest of Kev's season.
Omri Casspi will start the game with a pair of 28-foot threes. Carryover heat check!
Jon Brockman nods in respect to Jason Maxiell, the pioneering baby-eater.
Tip-off is at 4:30 PM PT at the Palace. Two game threads -- 4:30 and 5:45 -- and a post-gamer at 7:15.