It feels crazy typing this, but the Pistons kick off their exhibition schedule tonight with a game against the Heat ... or at least, a cheap facsimile of the Heat. Dwyane Wade is sidelined and Shaquille O'Neal and Alonzo Mourning are expected to sit, which means Detroit's new-look starting five will be going up against the likes of Michael Doleac, Dorell Wright and Antoine Walker.
Still, it's basketball, and if you're like me, watching the second- and third-string battle it out for rotation spots is still 100x more interesting than Cowboys-Bills on MNF (although watching the Yankees lose to the Indians is a close second). Unfortunately, unless you're headed out to the Palace, you won't be able to watch the game -- I'm almost positive this one isn't going to be televised. If you're local, tune into 1130 AM and follow along with an online box score ...
... and in the morning, be sure to hit up HOOPSWORLD.com. I'll be at the Palace covering the game for HOOPSWORLD tonight and should have a new article up tomorrow.
Update: Some of my observations are up at HOOPSWORLD:
The Detroit Pistons have long favored a slow and methodical brand of basketball, eschewing the fast break in favor of clock management, limiting possessions as well as mistakes. Quite literally no one put the brakes on more frequently, as the team ranked dead last in offensive pace in 2006-07.
While it's too early to say that they've ripped that strategy out of the playbook, it was quite clear in the first preseason game against the Miami Heat the Pistons are trying to open things up.
"I think it's something we've stressed in our training camp was our ability to be aggressive and not let teams take breaks," Flip Saunders said after the game. "Push the ball up, and if you don't have something, then get into a quick attack. Don't turn down open shots when you have them, but make quick decisions with the ball and not hold the ball."