The bad news is that the Lakers are 0-3 this season, but the good news is that they’re facing the winless Detroit Pistons tonight. The Lakers haven’t lost their first four games since 1957, so hopefully they’ll be able to beat up on the less talented and less experienced Pistons squad.
The Pistons have started 0-2 this season and are showing their youth and inexperience. On the other hand the Lakers entered the 2012-13 season with great fanfare and have failed to live up to lofty expectations. Hopefully the Lakers will take a step in the right direction and earn a win tonight.
Let’s take a look at how the Pistons stack up against the Lakers.
Frontcourt: The Pistons’ third year center, Greg Monroe, is a budding youngster who could be a future franchise player. At 6’11’’ and 253 pounds, Monroe has the size to match-up against Howard. In the first two games of the season, Monroe averaged 12 points and seven boards while only converting 40 percent of his field goals.
Long time role player Jason Maxiell seems to have locked in the starting job at power forward for the Pistons. Maxiell is undersized at 6’7’’ but what he lacks in size he makes up for with his hustle and energy. Despite his toughness, he’ll have a hard time guarding the much taller and longer Pau Gasol.
Rounding out the frontcourt is veteran Tayshaun Prince who has been a staple of the Pistons starting lineup for the past nine years. Prince is a savvy player who has a smooth jumper and rebounds as well as any small forward in the league. He’s also known for his defensive abilities and has been singled out more than once to guard Kobe in the past.
Off the bench, rookie Andre Drummond has the look of a future power forward star and he could contribute immediately due to his athleticism and size.
Backcourt: Sophomore Brandon Knight has looked stellar for the first two games this season averaging 14 points and 7 assists. Knight is an above average shooter who is still learning how to effectively distribute the rock. With Steve Nash out, Knight may have the advantage against Lakers backup Steve Blake.
At the two, Rodney Stuckey has struggled early on this season and has only converted 5.9% of his shot attempts (he’s 1 for 17 from the field). Stuckey is typically much better than this and is expected to be one of the leading scorer’s for the Pistons.
Key to Lakers’ Victory:
Defense – The Lakers problems have mainly been on defense where they have yielded 106.7 points on average through three games. Luckily the Pistons are not a high scoring team, and are averaging just 92.5 points on 42.6 percent shooting for the first two games. The Lakers need to be quicker on their defensive rotations and communicate better when switching off screens.
Coming into this season we all knew that the Lakers would not have great on-ball point guard defense; however, we all expected that Dwight Howard would cover up that deficiency with his superior shot blocking ability. This has not been the case thus far and Dwight has looked a step slow on his rotations. There’s no doubt Howard isn’t 100 percent recovered from his back injury and he should improve as the season goes on.
Limit Turnovers – The Lakers are one of the most turnover prone teams in the league with 19.3 turnovers per game. It’s expected that there will be some growing pains with the new Princeton offense, but that’s what preseason was supposed to be for. The bottom line is that the Lakers need to make crisper passes and take better care of the ball.
Detroit Pistons (0-2) at Los Angeles Lakers (0-3)
6:30 PM PST, November 4, 2012
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: TWC Sports Network
Radio: 710 ESPN (English) / 1330 ESPN (Spanish)
Pistons Projected Starting Line-up
PG: Brandon Knight SG: Rodney Stuckey SF: Tayshaun Prince PF: Jason Maxiell C: Greg Monroe
Key Reserves: PG: Will Bynum F: Jonas Jerebko C: Andre Drummond