The NBA is back, and so are we looking forward to a solid season and for our first pick we head to Atlanta for Pistons vs. Hawks. We've already seen movement going in Detroit's direction.
NBA odds makers came out with this line around eight and it is now dropped to +7 on Detroit. This makes a bit of sense considering it is the first game of the year. For my NBA pick today I'm going to take the Pistons getting the points in this spot. Right now there are still some pretty good odds out there like at The Greek where you can get Detroit at +7 (-110).
Last year offensively Detroit average 98.5 points per game, 53.4 rebounds per game, and shot 43.2% from the field. Although they lost Greg Monroe to the Bucks I still like this lineup on the offensive end. More importantly, I am a big fan of Stan Van Gundy and will be surprised if they don't improve off of last year. Picking up Ersan Ilyasova should ease the pain of losing Monroe and they still have arguably the best rebounder in the game, Andre Drummand. I also like that they have a capable backup to Reggie Jackson in Steve Blake at the point, but can also defer to Brandon Jennings (when he comes back) which provides depth at the most important position. Marcus Morris and rookie Stanley Johnson I think are two more nice additions. With the pieces in place I don't see this team dropping off offensively at all and we should see an uptick with SVG's system in place in his second year.
Defensively the Pistons allowed 99.5 points per game, 51.9 rebounds per game, and a 45.6% shooting from the field. Pretty much in every area they will have to improve if they want to make the playoffs. But I think they will this year with a lineup with mostly veterans. They were ok defending beyond the arc but they must improve in opponent shooting percentage.
Last year Atlanta averaged 101.8 points per game, 49.2 rebounds per game, and shot 46% from the field. Except the loss of Demarre Carrol this team is pretty well intact from last year and coach Mike Budenholzer has been a great fit bringing the Spurs system there. One of their key pickups would be Tiago Splitter who should help them improve their poor rebounding statistics, and they have a solid front line with him, Al Horford, and Paul Millsap. I imagine the transition for Splitter should be pretty easy, but for the first game and part of the year I expect them to go through a few growing pains. In the end the Hawks should be one of the top teams in the East.
Defensively the Hawks allowed 97.3 points per game, 51.8 rebounds per game, and 43.7% shooting from the field. They had their strengths and weaknesses on the defensive end, but I think losing Carroll might hurt them a bit as far as the perimeter goes. Splitter will be sufficient in the paint but the way the league is going getting those stretch 4 guys that can space and defend are becoming the preference. They have a good core of veterans though that know in order for them to get to the promised land they must focus on this side of the ball first.
This should be a fun matchup with two teams that like to get up and down and shoot the three. I like the points here though for this first matchup and I believe the Pistons will take this game down to the wire. Last year the Hawks won three out of four games against Detroit but out of the three wins none were blowouts with the biggest margin being 11. For one of your NBA picks look for the Hawks to win this at the end but for the Pistons to cover the points.
NBA Pick: Detroit Pistons +7 (-110) at The Greek