I won’t pretend to know how Joe Dumars still has a job. After letting Ben Wallace get paid somewhere else, Dumars went and signed Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva to incredibly bad deals while treating Rodney Stuckey like he was the next Dwyane Wade and Jason Maxiell like he wasn’t Jason Maxiell. Their starting shooting guard is their point guard of the future (Brandon Knight is averaging a career high 4 assists this year), and they dealt Tayshaun Prince for a nice expiring contact (to go with Maggette and Bynum), but the Pistons broke a 10-game losing streak on Saturday in Charlotte. So they’re hot for the Wolves tonight in Detroit.
Pistons probable starting lineup:
PG Jose Calderon
SG Brandon Knight
SF Kyle Singler
PF Jason Maxiell
C Greg Monroe
Monroe is averaging a career high 3.4 assists a game this season (5.4 over his last 5 games) on a Pistons team that scores 24th most points per game in the league. Tempting to think what he would do with some outside shooters. The 3rd year big man is prone to off-shooting nights (witness his 4-16 night against Golden State or the 2-11 stinker against Charlotte), but Monroe is more than just a scoring and rebounding big man.
Singler has been a nice investment for the Pistons. After spending some time oversesas, the Dukie has been gradually getting up to right around 30 minutes a night. With Corey Maggette being a walking expiring contract and Jonas Jerebko being Jonas Jerebko, Singler has the starting small forward spot to himself.
Rookie Andre Drummond hasn’t played since the first week of February. After averaging 9 points and 9 rebounds with over 2 blocks in just 20 minutes a game for January, it seemed Drummond was set to join Monroe and make the Pistons future frontline the present and start developing some chemistry. A stress fracture has delayed his arrival to any day now, but lucky for the Wolves that day won’t come tonight.
Wolves probable starting lineup:
PG Ricky Rubio
SG Luke Ridnour
SF Andrei Kirilenko
PF Derrick Williams
C Nikola Pekovic
Kirilenko has been back for 5 games and shot just 2-6, scoring 6 points with a steal and 3 rebounds in Minnesota’s loss to the Bulls Sunday. After running free in Phoenix, it’s possible AK is still feeling the affects of his calf injury, but Luol Deng looked awfully good, as the Wolves struggled to rebound all game. This would be a nice segue to hate on Williams lack of anything but points (28 with just 5 boards), but the blame is to be shared in that loss. A good showing at Detroit would go a long way for a Wolves team in the midst of a flurry of games and a tough couple back-to-backs coming up back at Target Center, with the Lakers Wednesday, OKC/Memphis on Friday and Saturday and then Boston coming to town Monday to close out the homestand.