Jan 23 2012; Oklahoma City OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant (35) drives to the basket against Detroit Pistons small forward Tayshaun Prince (22) during the third quarter at Chesapeake Energy Arena Mandatory Credit: Richard Rowe-US PRESSWIRE

Oklahoma City Thunder 2012-13 Preview: Detroit Pistons

Thunderous Intentions will begin to preview the 2012-13 NBA season by going through every team in the league and breaking down how they match up with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Be sure to check out the previous matchups we have previewed: Atlanta Hawks, Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Charlotte Bobcats, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets.


Detroit Pistons Team Overview

The Pistons finished 10th in the East last year with a 25-41 record on the year. They are in a rebuilding mode.

They would end up with the ninth pick in the upcoming NBA Draft where they would select Andre Drummond. Drummond was considered to have as much potential as anyone in the draft but slid partly because of how deep this draft was. The Pistons are glad to take on a project like Drummond and team him with a promising big with a good head on his shoulders in Greg Monroe.

Detroit also drafted Khris Middleton and Kim English. They traded away Ben Gordon and received Corey Maggette back from Charlotte. They also added Vyacheslav Kravtsov via free agency.

The Pistons have a solid young core also consisting of Brandon Knight and Austin Daye. They are far away from competing for a playoff spot but there are some young players to get you excited about this team’s future.

Last year

The Oklahoma City Thunder played the Pistons once last season at home on Jan. 23. They easily beat them 99-79 to improve to 14-3 on the year.

No starter played more than 30 minutes for the Thunder as Russell Westbrook led the way with 24 points and six assists. Kevin Durant had 20 points and James Harden had 24 points in 25 minutes off the bench. Harden was 8-for-11 from the field and the Thunder were plus-32 while he was on the floor.

The Thunder shot 53.2 percent from the field and had 21 assists in the game.

The Pistons shot just 34.1 percent from the field. Knight led them with 13 points. Monroe had 12 points but was 3-for-14 from the field. Daye had nine and was 3-for-10 from the floor.

The matchup

The Pistons’ offense last season ranked second to last in terms of points per possession. There is no real area where they would have any kind of advantage vs. the Thunder on the end of the floor.

Monroe is someone who is developing nicely in the post and as a roll man in the pick-and-roll but the Thunder are more than capable of matching up with him.

Without a true point guard last season, it made things that much more difficult for Detroit to get good shots.

The Pistons were not much better on defense ranking 24th in the league. They were dead last against isolation plays while the Thunder are one of the best teams in the league going one-on-one.

The Pistons were only 23rd in the league vs. spot-up plays and 25th in the league vs. the pick-and-roll too.

The Pistons have a lot of work to do to improve but simply growing up some will be the biggest factor in their growth.

Next year

The Thunder and Pistons play twice next year with the first meeting coming early in the season on Nov. 9 in OKC. The teams will then play just three days later back in Detroit.

With the matchups coming so early in the season, it’s hard to imagine a team like Detroit competing with the Thunder. Detroit has the potential to come together and start playing decent basketball next season but that probably won’t happen until later on in the season.

For now, expect the Thunder to easily handle the Pistons when they play and pick up the easy W’s.

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