Tonight, the Detroit Pistons head on the road to take on the Houston Rockets. It begins the rivalry between the two top picks in the 2021 NBA Draft of Cade Cunningham and Jalen Green. Fans got a preview of Cunningham and Green during the Summer League play. Here is my preview of what to expect for tonight’s prime matchup.
Jalen vs. Cade Preview
The most anticipated matchup is between Cunningham and Green. Both rookies have been making a name for themselves. Cunningham has been averaging 10.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.8 assists. While Green has been averaging 13.6 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 3 assists per game.
Both players have something to prove in this matchup. Cunningham wants to prove that he is the player he was predicted to be by scouts and the NBA community. As for Green, he wants to prove why he should have been the number one pick. It’s going to be a matchup in the making tonight and could be a future rivalry for years to come.
Cunningham needs to be aggressive.
Throughout the past couple of games, we have seen a jump in Cunningham’s game. Cunningham struggled his first couple of games after coming off a minor ankle injury.
But the past couple of games we have seen a spike in Cunningham’s game. Cunningham has been averaging 17.5 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, and 1 steal in his last two performances.
Cunningham is not worried about his stat line, and instead, he is more cornered about gelling with his new teammates. Pistons center Isaiah Stewart made a statement on Monday on working with Cunningham.
Stewart stated, “We’re going to play a lot together, so we’re trying to gain chemistry and work together after practice” via Rod Beard of the Detroit News.
The Pistons will need Cunningham to be a team player and the clutch player he was in college. Cunningham last season, scored the most clutch points in all of College Basketball. The Pistons need Cunningham to be that clutch scorer, especially with this game possibly going down to the wire.
Keys for the Pistons
The Pistons tonight, if they want to win, need to focus on knocking down shots. The Pistons have only shot 27.7% from the 3-point line and 39.4% from the field. The team’s ability to knocking down shots will be essential to winning, especially with the Rockets having 3-point shooters in Eric Gordon, Christian Wood, Kevin Porter Jr., and Jalen Green.
Another key for the Pistons is points off the bench. The Pistons bench has been one of the best second units in all of basketball. The bench has been averaging 41 points per game and ranked second behind the Miami Heat. The Pistons bench is loaded with depth, including Frank Jackson and Kelly Olynyk. The Pistons bench is going to be a significant key for the team.
The final key for the Pistons is rebounding. Rebounding has been a weakness for the squad this season. Isaiah Stewart needs to step up and be a leader and Kelly Olynyk needs to grab rebounds over Christian Wood and Jae’Sean Tate.
The Pistons vs. Rockets tip-off at 7:30 p.m. on ESPN. The Rockets are -2.5 favorites per Sports Betting Dime.