It is a beautiful time of year. The leaves are starting to change color in the north. Gone are the humid days of summer. For most of the country, the pools are closed and we have put away our summer wear. The MLB playoffs start Tuesday night. Here comes the Pumpkin flavored everything. But more importantly, Detroit Pistons preseason kicks off Tuesday night against the Indiana Pacers.
Where: The Palace of Auburn Hills - Auburn Hills, MI
When: Oct. 6, 2015 at 7:30 PM EST
Watch: Streamed on Pistons.com and the Fox Sports Go App (if in the viewing area)
The Pistons lost Greg Monroe, the Pacers lost Roy Hibbert. The Pistons "lost" Josh Smith, the Pacers lost David West. To fill in the front line, the Pistons brought in Marcus Morris (sparingly at power forward) and Aron Baynes, and brought back Joel Anthony. The Pacers drafted Myles Turner and Rakeem Christmas, and brought in Jordan Hill to fill out their front line next to Shayne Whittington, Ian Mahinmi, and Lavoy Allen. Honestly, the Pistons front court should dominate.
While the Pacers do plan on using Paul George some at the four spot, he's not exactly the happiest about this. He's 6-foot-9, so he's tall enough to play the part. However, he is only 220 pounds, which is 15 pounds lighter than any PF the Pistons have (though ESPN strangely has Cartier Martin listed as a power forward). The Pacers want to do this so that they can run the floor more. It would be wise for the Pistons to work through the power forwards on offense in an effort to tire George out.
Unfortunately, the Pistons come into the game kind of banged up. None of the injuries, outside of Brandon Jennings, appear to be long term concerns, but nearly everyone has a small issue:
"First I’ve got to come in here tomorrow and figure out who’s going to be here," he said. "That would be step number one. I don’t really know who’s going to be available. I know Spencer is going to be available. Jodie (Meeks), (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope), Marcus (Morris), Andre (Drummond), Joel (Anthony). Those guys have not had anything. They’re all fine to go. Everybody else has at least got a little something. We’ll wait and see."
This means that you should not expect to see the Pistons that you would normally see in the regular season. Darrun Hilliard, Stanley Johnson and Jodie Meeks are all likely to fill in at point guard when Spencer Dinwiddie needs a break. That will (hopefully) not be the case in the regular season. It will let us know long term if we have the backup point guard we need in Dinwiddie and if his summer league performance was an aberration.
Players to Watch
Pistons: Spencer Dinwiddie
We all want to see how Andre Drummond has progressed and how he will look with a shooter next to him constantly. But honestly, this is possibly one of the best scenarios the Pistons could be in. While we hope that Steve Blake and Reggie Jackson's injuries are not serious, Dinwiddie provides us a look at what the Pistons have. Although most teams do not play their normal roster for the entire game in the preseason, it will give Dinwiddie good burn against better competition (than summer league) with his actual teammates. If Dinwiddie can hold his own, and maybe hold down the backup position into the regular season, that could allow the Pistons to use Blake and Jennings (eventually) as trade bait.
Pacers: Paul George
Again, George is not that happy about being asked to play some power forward. Here's what he had to say about the energy it is going to take:
"Defensively, it’s rough. It’s rough," George said, using repetition for emphasis as he often does. "It’s an adjustment because I’m not used to doing some of the things out there and I’m exerting more energy, it feels like — from having to hedge on the ball screen, get back down low to a shot going up and now having to box out. So I don’t know. I don’t know."..."These guys are strong, they’re big. It’s almost like I’m just trying to keep them on my back but they got me in size. That’s the toughest part."
If Monroe was still with Detroit, he would have a career game against George. However, the Pistons have stretch fours. Yes, they're all bigger than George is in weight, but can they keep up with George's athleticism? Probably not. While the Pistons may be able to beat him up on the offensive side of the ball, he may run them around on the defensive side. It should be interesting to watch.
Last Time We Met
April 10, 2015 at The Palace - IND 107, DET 103
As we had become accustomed to, the Pistons blew a fourth quarter lead. Entering the fourth quarter with a one-point lead, the Pacers were led by Rodney Stuckey's eight fourth-quarter points. Two of those points took the lead from the Pistons and he would go on to score the next two baskets to widen the margin. Both Stuckey and C.J. Miles had 24 points in the game.
Both Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe had double-doubles getting 11-15 and 17-12, respectively. Reggie Jackson had a good game netting 21 points to go with nine assists, but that was with five turnovers and on only 40-percent shooting. The shooting guard position was a picture of efficiency, one we hope to see this season, with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Jodie Meeks combining for 31 points on 12-for-18 shooting (including 5-for-8 from downtown).
-- Chase Budinger was drafted 44th by Detroit in 2009. Budinger never played a game for the Pistons.
-- Rodney Stuckey...HEY!
-- Glenn Robinson III played college ball at the University of Michigan.
-- Shayne Whittington played college ball at Western Michigan University.
-- Danny Granger was drafted 17th by Indiana in 2005 and played eight plus seasons with Indiana.
Pistons 101, Pacers 93
Pistons: Dinwiddie, Caldwell-Pope, Morris, Ilyasova, Drummond
Pacers: George Hill, Monta Ellis, Miles, George, Mahinmi
Pistons:Jennings (out - Achilles tear), Baynes (questionable - Ankle), Jackson (out - Thigh Contusion, Sore Achilles), Adonis Thomas (out- Sore Achilles), Blake (out - Concussion), Granger (out - Knee)
Pacers: Budinger (questionable - Sore Hamstring)
Will Johnson play more minutes than Morris?