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Pistons at Bulls preview: Another hobbled young team, Pistons open on the road with Bulls

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Won’t complain about a soft start to the schedule!

Brooklyn Nets v Detroit Pistons Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

After knocking off a depleted bad team in the Brooklyn Nets in the home opener, the Pistons will get another shorthanded bad team for their first road contest.

In fact, looking ahead at their first 12 games of the season, only five of those are against teams actually trying to win this season. Well, maybe six, but the Hornets shouldn’t count. They’re not very good at this whole trying to win thing.

Lauri Markkanen is out for the first couple of months of the season with an elbow injury and Kris Dunn is a question mark as he is on paternity leave. Denzel Valentine is also out with a sprained ankle and Cristiano Felicio missed the opener with an ankle injury.

The Bulls started and finished hot in their opener against the 76ers, but couldn’t score in between. They combined for 73 points in the first and fourth quarters, 35 in the second and third. And they didn’t play defense for any of them.

This team is so comically imbalanced.

Antonio Blakeney played 30 minutes, took 16 shots, and I was initially certain that he was the guy from The Scarlet Pimpernel. Justin Holiday continues to start and play a major role for the Bulls. With Dunn out, they’re desperate at point guard with Tyler Ulis, a player on a two-way deal signed earlier this week, looking like he might get action tonight.

Then they don’t have enough minutes distribute in the frontcourt between Bobby Portis, Wendell Carter Jr., Jabari Parker, and Robin Lopez. And that’s before Markkanen and Felicio get back.

At least the Nets roster mostly makes sense, and Sean Marks had nothing when he took over as their GM. The Bulls dumped Jimmy Butler for this.

With so many bad general managers getting the ax in the past year - Ryan McDonough, Rob Hennigan, Phil Jackson - it’s kind of nice seeing John Paxson and Gar Forman keep on keeping on. They’re kind of like Varys from Game of Thrones.

gifer

The Pistons didn’t play well in their home opener win, coming out listless and doing just enough to eek out the win. Their offense was pretty bad, posting a 50 percent true shooting percentage. But they got 10 more shots than their opponent thanks to their edge in the offensive rebound and turnover departments.

Their shot selection definitely didn’t resemble the “shot spectrum” that much of the offseason has been made of with the addition of Dwane Casey. Far too many midrange shots. Tonight, it’d be nice to see better shots contributing to a reasonable shooting efficiency, making that edge on the offensive glass and avoiding turnovers just icing on the cake.

Reggie Bullock is reportedly healthy after missing the opener with the flu, and his return would be a nice shot in the arm.

Game Vitals

When: October 20 at 8 p.m. ET
Where: United Center, Chicago, IL
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit

Projected Lineups:

Pistons (1-0)
Reggie Jackson, Reggie Bullock, Luke Kennard, Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond

Bulls (0-1)
Cameron Payne, Zach LaVine, Justin Holiday, Bobby Portis, Wendell Carter Jr.

Community Question

Who wins the crown for current worst front office in the league, Forman and Paxson or Chris Wallace in Memphis?