Opponent: Detroit Pistons
Leading scorer: Derrick Rose (18.0 PPG in 18-19)
Leading rebounder: Andre Drummond (15.6 RPG in 18-19)
Leading assists: Reggie Jackson (4.2 APG in 18-19)
Biggest Challenge: Drummond
Myles Turner has historically fared poorly defensively against bruising centers like Drummond. In four games against the Pacers last season, the 6’11’’ center averaged 21 points and 16 rebounds per game. Will the Pacers elect to put Turner on him, so he can remain in the paint and protect the rim? Or will they put the bulkier body of Domantas Sabonis on him, who may fare better in the rebounding department? With Blake Griffin sidelined, the Pistons will look to get Drummond as involved as possible.
Biggest Advantage: No Griffin
The Pacers dodged a bullet with the Pistons all star power forward being sidelined for this contest with a knee and hamstring injury. Griffin, who averaged 24.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG and 5.4 APG last season, has the perimeter skills to be a matchup problem for either Turner or Sabonis. His replacement, likely Markieff Morris, does not possess those same skills. The Pacers would much rather have the Pistons run their offense through Jackson and Rose than Griffin.
The X-Factor: Edmond Sumner
Everything in the Pistons’ second-unit will run through Rose, who had an offensive resurgence last year in Minnesota scoring 18 PPG. Detroit is planning on using third-year wing Luke Kennard more in pick-and-roll settings off the bench, but don’t let that fool you, the ball will predominantly be in Rose’s hands when Jackson and Drummond are off the floor. That’s a tough matchup for Aaron Holiday, so expect long-armed Sumner to take that defensive assignment. If Sumner can hold Rose in check, the Pistons will struggle to generate offense.