Who Will Support Devin Booker?
Devin Booker is without question a star. But for the struggling Phoenix Suns, it comes down to who will be supporting Booker at the tail end of games. After the departure of Tyson Chandler, it’s clear that the Suns are leaning into their youth movement.
TJ Warren has been a bright spot for the Phoenix Suns, but he’s not without fault. He’s taking less shots this year, playing fewer minutes (30 MPG in 2017 versus 33 MPG in 2018), and has drastically improved his three-point shot despite a small sample size. In all aspects Warren has become more efficient for the Suns, but what they truly need is someone to spell Booker’s playmaking abilities which Warren has not shown the capacity to do.
Look no further than the Sun’s meager bench to explain their current record. In a devastatingly competitive Western Conference, no Suns reserve is averaging more than 8.6 PPG. Relying on a now 38 year-old Jamal Crawford to get hot and seal them a win is by no means a sound plan and removing Booker from the game almost signals Igor Kokoskov’s teams vulnerability.
Can the Pistons Take Advantage in the East?
The Boston Celtics are struggling, the Washington Wizards may as well sell their squad for chips, and the Cavaliers are not inspiring. Meanwhile, after fifteen games the Detroit Pistons sit 8-7 with the rest of the East’s promising young teams on their tail.
The Pistons have rallied for inspiring wins against the Toronto Raptors and Philadelphia 76ers, but have also dropped very winnable games against the Heat, Nets, and Hornets. Given it’s their first full-season with PF Blake Griffin and 17-18 Coach of the Year Dwane Casey, growing pains are expected but they need to establish their position now.
The Pistons will be opening December with nine games against teams over .500, including a three-game run against Golden State, Oklahoma City, and Milwaukee. The Pistons defence is solid, 10th in the NBA in Defensive Rating, but without the firepower to compete with the league from the three-point line it’ll be a grind-it-out month for the Motor City to lock their place in the top of Eastern Conference standings.
What’s at Stake?
The Phoenix Suns aren’t really challenging for anything this year. It seems to be that they are in for another high draft pick in hopes that Ayton can pair with one of the NCAA’s hottest Duke prospects—RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson, or Cam Reddish—in the event it doesn’t work out for Booker in his contract year. This match against Detroit will be a great test for young C DeAndre Ayton, as he will be going up against the NBA’s premier interior enforcer Andre Drummond.
It’s clear that the Detroit Pistons can’t afford to lose games against lesser competition. They took a gamble trading for Blake Griffin and so far it seems more a success than a failure. However, if the Pistons can’t win convincingly against a team like the Suns they’ll be hard-pressed against the rest of the East. Sitting at 20th in offensive rating in the NBA Detroit needs to define their style of play and lean on their top 10 defences to make some noise in the East.
Questions to Answer:
Will Blake Griffin return to All-Star form?
Can the Pistons find their range from three?
Is Devin Booker counting the days until he leaves Phoenix?
Is TJ Warren a good player or propped up by the lack of other talent?
Phoenix Suns at Detroit Pistons Predictions and Odds
The odds will be updated as soon as they’re made available.