The Detroit Pistons opened their 2013-14 campaign with a preseason win against the Israeli professional team Maccabi Haifa, 91-69.
New Pistons head coach Maurice Cheeks decided to go with a starting lineup of Brandon Jennings, Josh Smith, Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond and Chauncey Billups. Billups got the nod today over Rodney Stuckey and Kentavious-Caldwell Pope, who are (ed. note: or were) arguably in a battle to win the starting job.
Caldwell Pope didn’t make a great first impression as he missed 11 of his 12 shots, all of his three-point attempts with 2 turnovers. It seemed the rookie was pressing to try and make an impact, but it was clear that the 8th overall pick is very athletic as he showed his rebounding ability (7 rebounds), and some good defensive plays. Rodney Stuckey also off the bench missed 5 of his 6 attempts with only 3 assists opposite 2 turnovers.
New acquisitions Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith made their Pistons debuts and played well. Combining to hit over 50% of their shots and nabbing 7 steals, the new toys for Mo' Cheeks' squad really looked to push the ball, and did so well in netting 27 fast break points. (Box Score)
What stuck out the most from Tuesday’s opener were the two big boys in the paint, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. Drummond, who spent most of his rookie season coming off the bench in limited action, will be featured heavily in the starting lineup this year. He had 18 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 blocks in just 25 minutes on 57-percent shooting (8-14 FG). His front-court mate, Greg Monroe smoothly had 13 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals, also in only 25 minutes on 4-for-5 shooting from the field and making 5 for 6 on free throws. It seems in the half court set, with shooting at a premium, the team will look to go to the block often and will be looking for a lot of production through their two bigs.
Brandon Jennings' Jab step then lob | Haifa vs Pistons | October 8, 2013 | NBA Preseason 2013 (via NBAshowtimeHD2)
Charlie Villanueva and Kyle Singer both contributed 11 points off the bench in less than 21 minutes for the Pistons.
Rookie second round pick Peyton Siva dressed but did not play due to a calf strain, which is said not to be serious. He is listed as day-to-day. Will Bynum did not play due to a minor hip flexor injury. Former Italian-MVP swing man Luigi Datome was out with a hamstring injury.
The Pistons will host the Heat on Thursday.
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