Hopefully the Grizzlies enjoyed their week off (except for Z-Bo, of course), because the team returns to action tonight against the Detroit Pistons. Obviously, the biggest story going into this game is that it will be Tayshaun Prince’s first game against his old team since being traded to the Grizzlies on January 30th. The presence of Prince on Memphis’s roster could be a huge advantage for them tonight. he was a Piston for almost 11 years. he knows everything there is to know about this team, and you can bet he won’t be skimping on the details in practice. the Grizzlies will have the edge of inside knowledge, and that will be a big plus tonight.
Elsewhere, the promises to be an interesting duel and the point guard spot. the Pistons recently acquired Jose Calderon from Toronto in the same trade that sent Rudy Gay to the Raptors. Calderon is a significant improvement at the point over Brandon Knight, who moved to the 2-guard spot after the deal was completed. Knight is an exciting player with a lot of potential, but Calderon is a far superior passer, and the Pistons offense has looked much better with him as the starting point. the duel between Calderon and Mike Conley should be excellent to watch. Neither is a shoot-first point guard, but both are capable of hitting a few quick threes when their team needs it. in a way, they both act as secret offensive weapons. Scoring isn’t a huge part of their respective games, but they can certainly do it when the situation calls for it.
Meanwhile, the speedy Knight will have his hands full with Tony Allen, who is, in all likelihood the premiere defensive shooting guard in the NBA. If Knight’s ability to drive to the lane is stifled, the Pistons offense will become considerably weaker. At that point, they would look almost entirely to Calderon to run the sow, hoping he can run the pick and roll with Greg Monroe and Jason Maxiell.
In the frontcourt, the Pistons lost a big one when Andre Drummond went down with a back injury. The rookie from UConn had been thrilling to watch this season, and he provided crucial energy off the bench for the Pistons. Without him, the Pistons lose a bit in the depth department, and they lack a serious impact player off the bench other then Will Bynum, who has played well in recent weeks.
Prince isn’t the only Grizzly making his return to Detroit tonight; Austin Daye came over in the Gay deal as well, and so far he’s been better than expected, becoming the much-needed three-point shooter off the bench. Considering Daye was a secondary player, he might not know the ins-and-outs of the Pistons quite as well as Prince does, but there’s probably a few pieces of advice he can give to his fellow Grizzlies going into this one.
The Grizzlies match up well against the Pistons, and they’ve also been pretty hot lately, winning their last three before the break. They’re a tougher, more experienced team, and they likely have the edge at all five starting positions (though point guard is very close). With this in mind, the Grizzlies have a very good chance to begin the home stretch on a positive note, and win their fourth in a row when they march into the Palace tonight.