I have to admit that I don't follow Detroit basketball at all except when they come up in national news. I know they haven't been good this year but only by browsing the standings.
The Jazz seem to have coincidentally playing a couple of teams that have been in the national spotlight. First it was when Prokhorov made his announcement that they weren't going to pursue Carmelo Anthony. The Pistons are in the news because of a supposed player protest last night in Philadelphia.
SB Nation Detroit has all of the details, but there's been a player mutiny against coach John Kuester. He took over nearly two seasons ago and has had a tumultuous tenure. Richard Hamilton appears to be the leader in all of this going after Kuester a couple of times and leading the vets. Does any Jazz fan want him now?
So none of them played last night, having varied excuses. Here was the official reasons via basketball-reference.com,
Kuester may have lost control of the team a long time ago and may be an inept head coach, the the lack of professionalism here from the players is disturbing.
That's a far fall for a franchise that won the title as recently as 2004. I don't know how it got to this point other than it's been a long process. Poor signings and poor drafts haven't helped.
They're a team that's in transition as are the Jazz though I'm sure nobody here would swap positions with them. They're in a huge hole and it's going to take a while to get out.
As a result of their players out, they'll have just 9 available to play. The Jazz stood a good chance against them even if Detroit had everyone playing. They just haven't been good this year at all. They're near the bottom of the league defensively (that sounds weird to say) and they're in the bottom third offensively. They shoot the three-ball well but don't shoot it that often. Villanueva and Ben Gordon put up the most threes so we could see some more attempts tonight.
The Jazz are third in the league in steals but the Pistons don't turn the ball over that much. Part of that is to do with the fact that they're one of the slowest teams in the league.
The second unit will be bolstered tonight as Watson returns to the bench. He'll rotate in with Price (who is active), CJ, Hayward, and Derrick Favors. The Jazz should have the advantage in personnel no matter who is on the floor.
With the tough stretch to finish the season, if the Jazz have aspirations of making the playoffs, they need a win tonight against a team like this. No wins are gimme, but this is as close as they get.
Let's hope this newfound fervor continues.