The Rodeo Road Trip is over and the San Antonio Spurs will finally be back home in the AT&T Center for tonight's game against the Detroit Pistons. To preview tonight's game, I turned to longtime Project Spurs friend Natalie Sitto of the Pistons blog, Need4Sheed.com.
Detroit is 23-34 this season. They are 3.5 games behind the eight-seeded Atlanta Hawks. Is this what you expected from them?
Absolutely not. It's not like we are delusional in Detroit eight, but after being beyond mediocre for quite a few season there had been hope in Motown.
On a scale of 1-10 (10 being the worst), how would you rate Josh Smith's four-year, $54 million contract?
Is 72 an option? If not I'll put it at a 10 especially after watching what this team has done with him in the starting lineup for more than a half of a season. He is playing out of position, but that doesn't account for the miserable shots he takes and the bad decision he makes. His contract is an albatross and the fact the Pistons aggressively tried move him at the deadline tell you they know it was a mistake too.
The Smith-Monroe-Drummond trio has been crushed defensively this season. Do you think there is still hope that this very talented lineup figures it out, or is it a lost cause?
At this point I doubt that their defense will likely get any better by season's end. This team that had prided themselves on defense for so long has been trying to get back to that for some time. Individually each player is good defensively, but for some reason they just cant seem to help each other shut teams down.
Drummond's 22.3 PER is the fourth-best mark by any 20-year-old in NBA history. He's scary. How high is his ceiling? He's just 20!
For anyone who hasn't watched this kid play, they're missing out. He's plays the center position with such ease it's scary. He works hard, he's constantly improving and he has an unbelievably positive attitude, and that's hard when you're playing for a team who's clearly underachieving.
He'll be a household name very soon and a max contract when it's time to resign him. He's the first legitimate star player the Pistons have drafted since Grant Hill.
Monroe is up for restricted free agency this offseason. He's entering his prime, but the Pistons suffer on defense when he's on the floor. Should they re-sign him or let him walk?
You never want someone to walk like that and get nothing out of the deal. We go back to the Josh Smith signing when it comes to Monroe. Had the Pistons not signed Smith there would my answer would be a quick yes, but if they have to max Monroe out and have Smith's contract on the books they'll have room for little else and will handcuff the team in the future.
On the other hand Monroe, despite his defensive flaws constantly puts up double-double and carries the team at times.
If I had my choice I'd would go with Monroe and Drummond, but with Smith in the mix it's tough to keep that trio together when it hasn't really worked.
Prediction for tonight's game?
Spurs by 8.