Detroit Pistons vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Thursday, January 06, 2022 – 08:00 PM EST at FedExForum
The Detroit Pistons are playing better basketball as of late, but are still one of the worst teams in the NBA. The Pistons have the worst record in the league. They are in the middle of a rebuild based around number one draft pick Cade Cunningham who's averaging 16 points and 5 assists per game. The Pistons development has been headed up by veteran coach Dwane Casey, who's trying to teach the team how to do things the right way.
Cade Cunningham gets all the attention, but there are other young players on the Pistons that will help when the team is ready to compete. Saddiq Bey has been excellent this season averaging 16 points and 6 rebounds per game. Bey has played excellent defense. Yet in order to get playing time, Bey will need to increase his three-point percentage which is 32.7%. Bey shot much better from 3 last season, so the Pistons hope that he can turn things around soon.
Isaiah Stewart is an excellent center and is averaging 8 points and 8 rebounds per game. Stewart is a young, athletic player but he's still learning how to play defense at the NBA level. He has the athleticism and tenacity to be a good NBA defender, and it will not be surprising to see him at the top of defensive player ratings in the next couple of years.
Killian Hayes was the Pistons' first-round pick in the draft last year, and while he is not putting up flashy statistics, he definitely looks better within the flow of the offense than he did last year. His athleticism has been questioned. Hayes had doubts about his ability to compete at the NBA level, but this season he has shown that he has the versatility and court awareness to be effective, even if he is not the strongest and fastest player on the court.
The nucleus of Cunningham, Bey, Stewart, and Hayes is what the Pistons are building around. While they might not be effective at this moment, the Pistons do have a solid young core. If these young players continue to develop, the Pistons could be a perennial playoff team in the Eastern Conference.
The Memphis Grizzlies are in the midst of an excellent run, winning their last six games. Their most recent win was an impressive victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have been one of the best teams in the NBA this season. Even with players in and out of the lineup, Memphis gets it done.
When Ja Morant missed time, the Grizzlies were able to win. Now they are missing Dillon Brooks, a key piece to their defense, and they still are getting wins. The Memphis “Grit and Grind” culture has allowed them to adapt and overcome.
Ja Morant is the leader of the Grizzlies team, and he currently averages 25 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists per game. Morant is one of the NBA's most exciting playmakers, and his ability to get to the rim in creative ways has made him a fan favorite. Morant is also not afraid of tough situations. He has made many shots with the game on the line, endearing him to the Memphis fans.
The development of Jaren Jackson Jr. has also been a pleasant surprise for Memphis. There were worries that Jackson Jr. would never live up to his talent. Those concerns have been assuaged as Jackson Jr. is scoring down low in the post and has been the defensive force that everyone expected when he was drafted. Jackson Jr. is a versatile defender. He can protect the rim, as well as get out on the perimeter to guard smaller players. With Jackson Jr. playing quality basketball, the Grizzlies have become a complete team.
Steven Adams’s contributions to the Grizzlies have been completely underrated this season because he is not putting up gaudy statistics. Adams is not always the one to get the rebounds, but he has some of the best box-out techniques in the NBA. His technique down low often allows his teammates to corral the rebounds. Adams also sets effective screens that allow the Grizzlies guards to get free rein. Steven Adams’s play for the Grizzlies is proof that the box score is not always the best indicator of a player's contribution to his team.
Cade Cunningham vs. Kyle Anderson. Kyle Anderson, nicknamed "Slo-Mo", is an excellent defender. Anderson's ability to shut down even the best NBA players should provide a test to the young Cade Cunningham. Cunningham has shown ability far beyond his years.
If Cunningham is able to have a big game against a quality defender in Anderson, the Pistons have a good chance at keeping this competitive.
If Anderson is able to keep Cunningham in check, the Pistons will have problems keeping pace with the Grizzlies.
After getting blown on Charlotte last night it's hard to see the Pistons keeping competitive against a Memphis Grizzlies team that's even better. Detroit plays hard, they simply can't shoot well enough to keep up with the best teams. The Pistons will have that problem once again tonight.
Although it is a lot of points of NBA odds, we will lay it with the Grizzlies.
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