The matchup for tonight's game between the San Antonio Spurs and Detroit Pistons will be between Cory Joseph and Jose Calderon.
With Tony Parker sidelined, head coach Gregg Popovich was forced to make a decision on who to insert in the starting point guard role for the team. In a bit of a surprise, he chose Austin Toros call up Cory Joseph for the duties. Joseph is averaging 19.4ppg and 5.5apg with Austin in the NBDL this season. He'll have his hands full against Calderon, even in limited minutes if Pop decides to cut his night short. Calderon has been known to give the Spurs fits, so it won't be an easy task for Joseph.
What Joseph must do on offense:
He has to push the ball from the start. The Spurs have been dependent on this style for the whole season and are too one dimensional to want to go with a set up type of offense. His shooting will help stretch the floor. Joseph's 47% 3-point shooting will play a huge part if he can make those shots tonight, stretching out the Pistons' defense. He'll be well protected with Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter setting screens for him on the offensive end. Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green's versatility will also lower the burden on him on this end. Joseph just has to manage the game smoothly and want to push the ball while making the right decisions for the Spurs to come up with a win.
What Joseph must do on the defensive end:
Calderon will want to get hot early with his shooting. He's shooting the majority of his shots in the mid range area at 49% (105-215). He's also shooting lights out from 3-point land with 47% (95-201) from the wing. With his constant movement on offense, Joseph is a good option to try to contain him from the rest of the point guards defensively with his speed and long arms. Joseph has to force Calderon to think twice about his shot from the arc and play back defensively. Calderon is 59% (32-54) from the restricted area and 29% (4-14) from the rest of the paint, but he doesn't crack 100 combined attempted shots in those areas. If Joseph can force Calderon to become a driver instead of a shooter, that'll throw him off his game as he's clearly not comfortable in that situation.