For the forthcoming game against the Pistons, I had a chance to chat with Detroit based blogger Nyhlaa Black to talk about the rematch. The two teams met last week at the Palace with Chicago coming out victorious. The game will mark the first of three straight games for the Bulls, a trip that sees them head to Minneapolis Tuesday and then return to Chicago to face the Wizards on Wednesday.
The Pistons, to be blunt, aren’t very good this year. What was the expectations coming into this season? Is this 2-6 start expected or is it a bit of a surprise?
The expectations were a bit grim to say the least. After bringing in a new coach, Coach Lawrence Frank, Pistons’ fans expected a surge of changes to be underway. Then, when the Tayshaun Prince re-signing came about and the Rodney Stuckey melodrama proved to be anything but speedy, a lot of fans recognized that rebuilding would take a lot longer than they suspected. The franchise is used to barreling in the dumps, unfortunately, and Pistons’ fans are used to getting much less than the potential of the squad could possibly produce. There are a few spurts of hope here and there with Greg Monroe and Brandon Knight, but the question marks over the head of Ben Gordon and Rodney Stuckey still keep thoughts of success at bay.
These two teams met on Wednesday and it was all Chicago. Why was this? Was Chicago just the better team or did the Pistons just not bring everything they had?
It is a little hard at this point to tell exactly how the Detroit Pistons will shape up towards the end of the season, but one thing is for sure. THEY ARE SUPREMELY INCONSISTENT. The Pistons do not have a leader, like the Chicago Bulls do in Derrick Rose, which is already a kick while they are down. Ever since Chauncey Billups left the squad, they have been sulking and searching for someone who can take over the game when nothing else is going in their favor.
The Chicago Bulls are most definitely a better team than the Detroit Pistons. They are better defensively and offensively, with multiple, RELIABLE scoring threats, such as the newly acquired former Pistons’ player Richard Hamilton. He had a pretty good bout against his former team and gave the Bulls an extra shoot-and-catch threat that they were lacking in last year’s postseason. The Bulls have an identity that the Pistons have yet to gain and this is the primary reason why Chicago is able to take such advantage of them.
The Bulls and Pistons had a pretty good rivalry going in the 80′s and 90′s but in recent years the needle has tipped all the way over to the Bulls side. Detroit is 0-12 in the last twelve meetings between these two teams. How much does that weigh on the team and the fans coming into these match ups?
In any rivalry situation, for the meetings to mean much, it has to at least be competitive. In recent years, the Pistons have been less than competitive against any squad in the league. But, contrary to popular belief, a few meetings held in the last few seasons between the Pistons and the Bulls have been quite competitive.
In the four games played between each team last season, one was decided by five points and one was decided in OT. Regardless of how the rest of the season played out for the Detroit Pistons, it is generally a high-level of energy on the hardwood and plenty of heart left out on the floor in a Bulls-Pistons game.
Fans are more so focused on the rivalry aspect of the game because of the storyline created after the Bulls signed Hamilton. The bigger concern is just getting a steady starting lineup to play above mediocrity. Maybe then, the fans and the team will concern themselves with a rivalry headline, but for now, Detroit is simply attempting to keep their heads above water.
Being as bad as they are, the Pistons have some talent, Who would you say is the best player for the Pistons thus far this year?
The best player for the Pistons would undoubtedly be Greg Monroe because of how high his bar of potential is. He can be a bit timid sometimes around the rim which is something that Coach Frank needs to lure him out of. But, so far this season, he has been a great asset to the Pistons’ front court with nice board numbers and building off of the reputation he gained as a Pistons’ squad member last year.
Monroe does not have any assistance in the front court and because of this it seems like his presence in the paint will continue to be undervalued. Monroe is solid offensively for Detroit, however, does not have the help down low to allow his game to develop at the speed any other second-year NBA player may be allotted. Practice may not make perfect, but throwing Monroe in the gym overtime to practice his mid-range, which is spotty as best, would only help him become a more dangerous player for the Detroit Pistons in the long run.
Finally, who do you have tonight? Do the Bulls get it back together after dropping a big one to the Hawks on Saturday or do the Pistons finally win for the first time since 2008 against the Bulls?
The Chicago Bulls are in recovery, but I still believe the Detroit Pistons have a lot of work to do before they can contend with such a big-time franchise like what Chicago Bulls have grown to be, again. Their starting players need to be consistent all at once and this is a concept that Coach Frank has yet to be able to pull out of any of the men in a Detroit Pistons uniform.
In order for the Pistons to defeat the Bulls, they would need to first get Knight to drive a lot more than he did against the New York Knicks. He is a really good pull-up shooter and also great at catching his defender off balance therefore driving the lane and drawing the contact. Knight seems to get a little trigger-happy behind the three-point line and that habit must be tamed immediately in a season where every little game counts.
Finishing around the rim is another thing that the Pistons have been struggling to do lately. The Bulls are a pretty decent team in transition, especially with Derrick Rose pushing the pace, and missed finishes at the basket could result in easy baskets on the other end of the court. I have the Chicago Bulls taking this game by at least ten.
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