Instead, the Pistons brought in five rookies, including three picks from last year's NBA draft, a previous second-rounder from another draft and a European big man that couldn't stick on an NBA team after a cup of coffee in summer league 2010.
The starting lineup looks like it is going to be completely in tact from the second half of last season but the bench will be much different, with only Jonas Jerebko expected to see similar minutes to what he received last season.
Gone are veterans Damien Wilkins, Ben Wallace and Ben Gordon, in are a bunch of question marks. Can Will Bynum rebound and be a competent backup point guard? Will Charlie Villanueva ever be given a shot now that he is supposedly healthy? What are the rookies going to contribute?
And that is what makes this team so damn exciting.
Leading the charge, of course, is Andre Drummond, who quieted a lot of doubters in the preseason (perhaps prematurely) and has already shown himself to be the most exciting Pistons rookie to watch since Grant Hill was hawking those awful Filas in the 90s.
Also expected to see a steady dose of minutes is Kyle Singler, who will be serving as Tayshaun Prince's primary backup with Corey Maggette sidelined.
We've talked all offseason about the strengths and weaknesses of everyone on the roster but it all starts with one game. So what do you want to see out of the rookies against the Houston Rockets tonight?
Vince Ellis writes that the rooks could see significant time on the floor. For his part, coach Lawrence Frank doesn't dismiss the idea but I'd be surprised if we saw a 10-man rotation right out of the gate. But then again, he's already admitted that the rotation is up in the air.
Who is going to get minutes? Will any of them be on the floor in crunch time? What will their final lines look like?
Here is what I'm hoping to see:
- 25+ minutes
- 2+ blocks
- 1 highlight-reel dunk
- All free throws to hit the rim
- 2+ 3-point field goals
- Brought off bench for defensive purposes throughout the game
- On the giving or receiving end of at least one Pistons fast-break basket
- Shoot 45+ percent from the floor
- At least four free-throw attempts
- Solid defense off the bench
Ktrl-V (should he see the floor):
- 1 Block
- 1 Dunk
- 1 Rebound
- A minor shoving match with opposing team's player
Khris Middleton (should he see the floor)
- His name spelled correctly on any chyrons
- Engaged in the game and rooting for teammates
- No forced shots