Tonight, it counts for real. The Detroit Pistons ran back largely the same squad they finished the season with but hope that the addition of a new voice in Dwane Casey and a new emphasis on quality looks and high-efficiency shots will guide them to success.
That attack will be led by Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson with supplemental shooters including Reggie Bullock, Luke Kennard and strong, athletic wings in Stanley Johnson and Glenn Robinson III.
When: Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 7 p.m.
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit
The Nets already bested Detroit 110-108 in overtime, but that game didn’t count and the Nets are even more depleted now than they were then. Allen Crabbe sprained his ankle in that game and is out, joining DeMarre Carroll and Shabazz Napier. Joining those three rotation mainstays could be Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who missed the entire preseason with an abductor strain.
The Pistons, meanwhile, are mostly healthy. Detroit brought along Reggie Jackson and Blake Griffin slowly through the preseason and they are good to go tonight against the Nets. Detroit is expected to be without Johnson, who is battling a toe issue. For those on the start GRIII bandwagon anyway that isn’t too much of a concern, but it did seem as if Casey was leaning toward starting the incumbent Johnson.
Who gets the shot in the rotation in Robinson’s place as he moves into the starting lineup is an interesting question. Detroit could lean into its surplus of perimeter-oriented guards and give Luke Kennard more run or serious minutes to Langston Galloway or even find some time for Jose Calderon and have Reggie Jackson play off the ball.
It seems that whichever player is most willing to take 3s, the more likely Casey is to give you some time in the lineup. Casey’s “shot matrix,” which favors 3s and at the rim looks has already been internalized by non-shooting players like Ish Smith, Johnson and Drummond, but Casey might prefer to more natural 3-point shooters on the floor.
On defense, Detroit needs to be able to control the boards with the Nets big men hampered. They will also need to do a better job checking D’Angelo Russell than they did in the preseason, and if Ed Davis gets 25 rebound then I might just disavow this team completely.
Reggie Jackson, Reggie Bullock, Glen Robinson III, Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond
DeAngelo Russell, Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, Jared Dudley, Jarrett Allen
Does Andre Drummond attempt a 3 tonight? Does he make a 3 tonight?