I wanted to re-highlight the six-game road trip part of this Revken post from before the season since it has been a minute, and the Pistons are off to a somewhat surprising 3-1 start. Keep in mind these are Rev's thoughts from before the season. Does your opinion on how these six games play out change at all? Let us know in the poll and comments below.
Game 5 (Fri., Nov. 6): Pistons at Suns
A six-game road trip west commences with this game, which Morris probably highlighted the day the schedule came out – both as a reunion with his brother Markieff and a chance to show Phoenix (39-43) that they erred in trading him away. Brandon Knight may not recognize his old team, since the only holdover from the one he played on in 2012-13 is Drummond. A bigger challenge for Knight will be learning how to co-exist in the backcourt with Eric Bledsoe, since neither is a true point guard. Detroit lost at home in November, but won at the Talking Stick Resort Arena (no, I did not make that name up!), 105-103, last December.
Game 6 (Sun., Nov. 8): Pistons at Trail Blazers
Portland (51-31) decided the best path forward was to blow up their team when LaMarcus Aldridge chose to blaze a trail elsewhere. The only returning starter is Damian Lillard, who signed the big extension (5 years/$120 million) that Drummond chose to postpone to 2016. Lillard is a great talent, and C.J. McCollum looks like he’s ready to become an additional scoring machine. But the rest of the roster is still under construction. The Blazers won both matches last season, with the last one a mid-March 118-99 conquest at the Moda Center.
Game 7 (Mon., Nov. 9): Pistons at Warriors
What’s a trip to the coast without a back-to-back, and who better to face next than the NBA champs in Oakland? The Warriors return all the key pieces from last year’s 67-15 squad, which downed Detroit in November (104-93) and March (105-98). Seeing how Van Gundy counters when Golden State goes small and puts Draymond Green at center should be entertaining, as well as counting up all the three-point shots.
Game 8 (Wed., Nov. 11): Pistons at Kings
The matchups of DeMarcus Cousins with Drummond and Rajon Rondo with Jackson will get top billing, but how Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (pick No. 8 in 2013) fairs against Ben McLemore (pick No. 7 in 2013) could be a key factor in the outcome. Rookie Willie Cauley-Stein may start alongside Cousins. Detroit won both games with Sacramento (29-53) last year, both with and without Josh Smith.
Game 9 (Sat., Nov. 14): Pistons at Clippers
After a couple of days to enjoy the sights, Detroit will return to action in a matinee match against L.A.’s top team. No doubt the bookies will entertain bets on whether Drummond or DeAndre Jordan will clank the most free throws. Although the battle between these two behemoths should be exciting, and Jackson’s efforts versus Chris Paul will bear watching, the Stones will struggle to contain Blake Griffin. A special treat will be the opportunity to watch Smith play for another team. Detroit dropped both games last season against the 56-26 Clippers.
Game 10 (Sun., Nov. 15): Pistons at Lakers
Yay, another back-to-back! At least this contest is against L.A.’s weaker team, though recent history has seen no distinction in the win-loss column. The Lakers’ most recent victory (93-85) contributed to the 10-game skid that ended Detroit’s playoff aspirations last March. Kobe Bryant will be back, and the L.A. skyline now features Roy Hibbert. If the Pistons hope to reach the playoffs in 2015-16, beating up on a team that finished 21-61 last year would be a step in the right direction – as well as make the return trip to Michigan more pleasant