Lakers Vs. Pistons Preview: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Welcomes Former Team To L.A.

Lakers Vs. Pistons Preview: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Welcomes Former Team To L.A.

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Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers have dropped their last two games and things don’t get easier for them Tuesday, as they welcome the Detroit Pistons to town.

The Pistons are off to a good start to the season at 5-2, and have won three straight games against projected Western Conference playoff teams in the Minnesota Timberwolves, Los Angeles Clippers and the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors.

Tuesday marks Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s first game against his former team. He was a restricted free agent in Detroit this past summer, but when they traded for Avery Bradley they renounced his rights and he wound up signing with Los Angeles on a one-year, $18 million deal.

The addition of Bradley has played a big part in Detroit’s success early this season, so we get our preview started for tonight’s game with him.

Backcourt:

Bradley, who developed into one of the better three-and-D players in the league last year with the Boston Celtics, has continued that in Detroit as he is knocking down threes at a 46.4 percent clip, which is 10 percent higher than his career average.

He will be joined in the backcourt by Reggie Jackson, who is also off to a good start to the season after a rough 2016-17 campaign. He’s averaging 16.1 points and 6.1 assists while shooting 44.1 percent from the field, so Caldwell-Pope and Lonzo Ball will have their hands full Tuesday night.

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Bradley also figures to be matched up with Ball on defense as he is one of the league’s premier perimeter defenders. With Ball wanting to push the pace more, Bradley will look to contain that.

The bench is where the Lakers have the advantage as Jordan Clarkson has emerged as one of the better guards coming off the bench in the league and Josh Hart has improved each game.

Getting a bulk of the Pistons’ guard minutes off the bench will be Ish Smith and Langston Galloway, with rookie Luke Kennard also figuring into the mix.

Frontcourt:

The Pistons lack a true superstar on their roster, but they make up for it with a few borderline All-Star caliber players, and two of them are in their frontcourt in Andre Drummond and Tobias Harris.

Drummond is a double-double machine in the middle for Detroit, as he is averaging 12.9 points and 14.4 rebounds on the season. He has also greatly improved his free throw shooting as the career 38.4 percent shooter is knocking down 70 percent from the line so far this year.

Harris has developed into one of the better pure scorers in the league, and definitely the best on the Pistons team so far this season. He’s averaging 20.9 points, shooting a very efficient 49.6 percent from the field and 46.3 percent from three.

Like their backcourt, the Lakers also have a very deep frontcourt with Brandon Ingram, Larry Nance Jr. and Brook Lopez in the starting lineup and Julius Randle, Kyle Kuzma and veterans Corey Brewer and Andrew Bogut coming off the bench.

Three Keys To Victory:

Knock Down Shots: The Lakers currently rank dead last in the NBA, knocking down just 27.8 percent of their threes. Lonzo Ball is doing a good job of getting guys open looks, and eventually, guys are going to need to start making them.

Get Out In Transition: Luke Walton has stressed time and time again that he wants the Lakers to play fast and get out in transition to make up for their shooting deficiencies. The Pistons are a halfcourt team, so the Lakers need to control the pace of the game to be successful.

Starters Get Back On Track: The last few games the Lakers bench unit has outplayed their starters, so it will be important for the starting unit to get back on track or it might be time for Luke Walton to make some changes to his first unit.

Los Angeles Lakers (2-4) Vs. Detroit Pistons (5-2)

7:30 P.M. PST, October 31, 2017
Staples Center, Los Angeles, CA
TV: Spectrum SportsNet
Radio: 710 AM (ESPN)/ 1330 KWKW (Spanish)

Projected Lakers Starting Lineup:

PG: Lonzo Ball
SG: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
SF: Brandon Ingram
PF: Larry Nance Jr.
C: Brook Lopez

Key Reserves: Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, Kyle Kuzma, Josh Hart, Andrew Bogut, Corey Brewer

Projected Pistons Starting Lineup:

PG: Reggie Jackson
SG: Avery Bradley
SF: Stanley Johnson
PF: Tobias Harris
C: Andre Drummond

Key Reserves: Ish Smith, Henry Ellenson, Anthony Tolliver, Langston Galloway, Reggie Bullock, Jon Leuer