It may be a depressing thought, but this could be the final home-opener for the Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills. As rumors begin to heat up about a move to downtown Detroit, we could be witnessing the beginning of the end for the beautiful Palace.
Leaving those depressing thoughts behind, the Pistons are playing their first home game of the 2016-17 season. They are coming off a 109-91 loss in Toronto on Wednesday.
It was not a great effort, but it was a road game against one of the better teams in the league. The good news is, there is no cure for a bad game like some home-cooking.
Where: Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, MI
When: Friday, October 28 at 7:30 p.m.
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit
The Orlando Magic are coming off a busy offseason. Yes, they added players, but how all of those players fit together is a completely different question.
They took the Joe Dumars approach to the offseason. Get a lot of money and spend it on players regardless of how the fit on your roster. It is how the Pistons ended up with the roster mess that was the Josh Smith-era (shudders).
The Orlando Magic added Serge Ibaka via trade. But, they had to deal young guard Victor Oladipo plus first-round pick Domantas Sabonis to do it. They then proceeded to just chuck money at players and figure it out later. They signed DJ Augustin, Jeff Green, and Bismack Biyombo.
In a vacuum, these additions are not terrible. When put into context it leaves you scratching your head a bit. Why sign a couple of poor-shooting big guys when you already have a couple of solid, young bigs who cannot shoot that well in Aaron Gordon and Nikola Vucevic?
Yes, these guys do need backups, but do you really need to spend $15 million on Jeff Green and $17 million per year on Bismack Biyombo to be backups? This is after dealing Tobias Harris to the Pistons for scraps, plus forcing Aaron Gordon out of his starting power forward role in favor of Serge Ibaka.
The Magic do have a roster with some pretty high defensive potential, especially with a defensive ace of a coach in Frank Vogel. However, in the current NBA, shooting is a necessity. The Orlando Magic do not have much of that.
The main batch of shooters for the Magic are Evan Fournier, Mario Hezonja and Jodie Meeks, they simply are not enough to make up for the hodgepodge of poor-shooting bigs that the Orlando Magic have. Plus, they start Elfrid Payton who cannot shoot well either
With all of that being said, the Magic could give the Pistons some problems because of their size. Neither of these teams shoot the ball very well so it could come down to a battle inside, which the Magic may have the advantage in.
Nikola Vucevic is a very skilled post player, which seems to give Andre Drummond problems on defense (see: Valanciunas, Jonas). Serge Ibaka is a bigger power forward who can shoot a bit, which might give Tobias Harris some trouble. Expect to see a healthy dose of Jon Leuer to counteract that.
The Magic also have Bismack Biyombo to bring off the bench. Andre Drummond should be able to match-up pretty well with Biyombo, but he could give Aron Baynes some problems.
The back court match-up is a bit of wash. Both Elfrid Payton and Ish Smith don’t shoot all that well, although they pass the ball well. Evan Fournier can score, but KCP can play defense and has had success against Fournier in the past. Something will have to give in that matchup, and it could be a huge factor in determining the outcome of this game.
Even though I think the Magic could bring problems with their size, I think the Pistons have the better roster, even without Reggie Jackson. Coming off a disappointing performance in Toronto, and playing their first home game, I expect the Pistons to win.
Pistons 108, Magic 94
Pistons: Ish Smith, KCP, Marcus Morris, Tobias Harris, Andre Drummond
Injuries: Reggie Jackson (knee), Reggie Bullock (back spasms)
Magic: Elfrid Payton, Evan Fournier, Aaron Gordon, Serge Ibaka, Nikola Vucevic
What are your memories of the Palace if this is, in fact, the last home-opener there?