Pistons at Suns: Keys to Victory

By Travis Gordon

November 1, 2012–The Suns will host the Pistons Friday night as both teams look to notch their 1st win of the 2012-13 season. The young Pistons fell to the newly constructed Houston Rockets 105-96 in their season opener, while the Suns dropped their home opener Wednesday 87-85 to the Golden State Warriors. Here are tonight’s keys to victory.

 

Pistons

Rebound

Nothing against Greg Monroe, but let’s be honest, he’s not a center. Monroe is paired with Jason Maxiell to form one of the shortest frontcourts in the NBA, thus making it hard for the two to control the boards. Detroit was pounded on the glass by Houston and now must find a way to neutralize the size advantage the Suns have with Marcin Gortat and Luis Scola.

 

Pray

That Rodney Stuckey doesn’t shoot 1-10 from the field again. The Pistons will never be mistaken for an offensive juggernaut, but matters aren’t helped when you’re starting SHOOTING guard shoots 10% from the field. Stuckey is one of the few legit scoring threats the visiting team possesses and without his scoring punch, Detroit stands little chance to win.

 

Play the Rook

I mentioned Monroe was playing out of position earlier. The Pistons have the luxury of sliding the former Georgetown Hoya over to the power forward slot to play next to rookie lottery pick Andre Drummond if they choose. If nothing else Drummond has the ability to change shots at the rim, something Detroit could use. I never understood why teams draft players so high, only to sit them and stunt their growth. Drummond needs as much court time as possible to polish his raw game. 13 minutes in game one aren’t enough.

 

Suns

Protect the Ball

Phoenix came out sloppy in their season opener, turning the ball over 6 times in the 1st quarter vs. Golden State and digging a hole they wouldn’t be able to get out of. There are a lot of new moving parts with this team and the Suns looked out of sync early vs. the Warriors. They did a great job fighting back, but they can’t afford to give teams extra possessions while they attempt to gel offensively.

 

Easy Baskets

Far too often in the home opener, point guard Goran Dragic was pushing the tempo without anyone filling the lanes and running with him. This team is too young and athletic to be held to 85 points overall and 11 fast-break points for the game. Dragic needs some running mates to help him create easy baskets, because they aren’t seasoned enough as a team at this point to out-execute opposing teams in the half-court.

 

Get Beasley Going

One of the Suns main objectives coming into the season was to help Michael Beasley become more of an efficient and dominant scorer. After game one, he was neither efficient nor dominant, scoring 8 points on 2-9 shooting from the field. One way to get Beasley going is to run the floor with Dragic to try and get some layups and dunks to help build his confidence. I was surprised to see Beasley benched in favor of PJ Tucker during “winning time” of the 4th vs. the Warriors. He’s far too talented of a scorer to be sitting in crunch time, but he has to mature and not settle for jumpers so much.

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