Ranking the Detroit Pistons' 5 Must-Watch Games of February
Things just got a lot more exciting around Detroit.
On Wednesday the Detroit Pistons traded fading star Tayshaun Prince along with former first round pick Austin Daye to Memphis as part of a three team deal that ultimately landed Jose Calderon in Detroit.
This not only improves the Pistons back court situation as Calderon is the first true point guard to play for the franchise in years, but it drastically improves the Pistons' playoff hopes.
That being said, there are a lot of obstacles standing in the Pistons' way, namely a grueling schedule during the month of February.
Here are the top five must-see Detroit Pistons games in February.
No.5: February 9th at Milwaukee Bucks
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In their last meeting, Brandon Jennings and the Milwaukee Bucks withstood a Pistons barrage during the first quarter and deflated Detroit's chances in the second half behind fantastic bench play and a 30 point game from Brandon Jennings.
Down low, the Pistons essentially parted the lane and gave the Bucks' big men free reign. They made Ekpe Udoh look like Tim Duncan.
If they are going to seriously challenge for a playoff spot the Pistons are going to need to dust off the Bucks. They will need to utilize their newfound floor spacing and carve up the Bucks like it's deer season.
The bigs are going to need to close up the lane and the perimeter defenders need to force the ball to Monta Ellis, who never saw a bad shot he didn't like.
The Pistons will need to play hard to win this game as the Bucks are no longer a cellar-dweller in the Central.
No.4-February 11 vs New Orleans Hornets
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This may seem like a curious pick as the New Orleans Hornets are far from a good team. But this slideshow is titled the "five must-see" games, not necessarily the five most important.
This game is a must-see for one reason, the matchup between Anthony Davis and Andre Drummond.
Davis was the first overall pick in last year's draft and was the consensus amongst most draft watchers as well. He is athletic, long and shows tremendous instincts on the defensive end. Sure, he never figured out how to use tweezers, but I won't hold that against him.
Drummond (along with Portland Trail Blazers' point guard Damian Lillard) has shown that there should have at least been some discussion about this pick.
As of right now, Davis has slightly better numbers than Drummond despite playing a much more prolific role in New Orleans than Drummond has played in Detroit.
That being said, if you extend the minutes out to 36 per game, you see a much different picture. Per 36, Drummond is averaging over 13 points, 13 rebounds and nearly three blocks per game.
Davis is averaging about three points more per 36 than Drummond but with over three fewer rebounds and half a block less.
There is no doubt that Davis is going to be a very good player in this league and maybe even a star. But Drummond could develop into a superstar if the Pistons develop him right.
This should be a fun matchup to watch and for years to come.
No.3: February 4th at New York Knicks
Earlier in January the Pistons were embarrassed across the pond in London by the New York Knicks.
Without a furious comeback led by Will Bynum this game could have triggered international aid workers and United Nations sanctions.
The Pistons, in order to prove that they are for real as a potential playoff team, are going to need to show up in Madison Square Garden. It won't be easy as they traded away the only defender on the team that seems to give Carmelo Anthony even a little bit of trouble, but they will need to try to slow the forward down.
The real key will be how the bigs challenge All-Star center Tyson Chandler. Chandler's defensive play has inspired his teammates and has the Knicks as the current number two seed in the conference.
The Pistons will need to rely heavily on floor spacing and penetration. Luckily Jason Kidd can't stay in front of quicker guards, so Calderon should have a shot at getting to the hoop. But the Pistons are going to need to collapse on the paint and bail their point guard out.
No.2: February 19 vs Memphis Grizzlies
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This is a must-see game for a few reasons.
First, this will be the first visit in an opposing jersey for Tayshaun Prince. Sure, it will be weird seeing him in that God-awful Memphis Grizzlies' attire. But he should get a nice reception from the Palace and the Pistons organization. I would suspect a nice video montage and a round of applause.
But that isn't the only reason this should be a fun game to watch. The Grizzlies are essentially the blueprint that the Pistons are following. They have two big men that play alongside one another in the starting lineup in Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph. Both are bruisers that can tear it up down low and both have a nice touch in the mid-range game.
Hopefully the Pistons are starting Drummond by then. If so, this should be a really fun game to watch with Drummond and Greg Monroe bruising it up with the Grizzlies bigs.
Also, the Grizzlies are a very legitimate title contender out west, and the Pistons will need to show how far they have come in their bid for playoff contention.
No.1: February 3 vs Los Angeles Lakers
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Obviously it is always must-see basketball when the Los Angeles Lakers come to town.
Over the years, they have seemingly always paraded out a string of All-Stars when they arrive in Detroit.
The biggest reason I want to watch this game is to see the matchup of Howard vs Drummond. Drummond in a lot of ways calls to mind Howard with his freakish athleticism and tremendous strength.
If Drummond is going to become the player we all hope he can become, this will be a good measuring stick for the youngster. If he can hold his own physically and perhaps even throw down a dunk or two this game should be worth missing the Super Bowl preview show.
For the Pistons, they will need to out run this aging team. Get the Lakers running in transition and force Bryant and Nash to play defense for 30-40 minutes and they might have a shot.