Normally, opening day for the Pistons is a time for optimism. Everybody drinks the offseason Kool-Aid and they finally get to see the full roster in action. In the case of the Pistons this year, that is not going to be the case as Blake Griffin will miss the first couple weeks of the season with a hamstring injury.
While that is definitely cause for concern and lowers the ceiling of this Pistons team significantly, at least it is not a more serious injury like the Pelicans are experiencing with Zion Williamson.
With all that being said, at least we are going to have some regular season Detroit Basketball back on our TVs!
Where: Banker’s Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, IN
When: Wednesday, Oct. 23 at 7 pm
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit
As mentioned above, the Pistons will be without their star Blake Griffin. It is a huge blow for a team that is very reliant on him, but they are also not the only team playing tonight that will be without their star. Indiana will still be without their star Victor Oladipo, who ruptured his quadriceps tendon last season.
Indiana found a way to overcome Oladipo’s injury last season and were still able to capture the 5th seed in the East. It was mainly players like Bojan Bogdanovic, Darren Collison, Domantas Sabonis, and Myles Turner stepping up their game to keep the Pacers afloat, but the Pacers will be without two of those players. Bogdanovic signed with the Jazz in the offseason and Collison unexpectedly retired.
Indiana was able to add Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, and TJ Warren to replace those departures, but there is probably going to be an adjustment period to integrate them into the team. I have no idea if Indiana is going to be better or worse than they were after losing Oladipo last season.
We know the Pistons were not very good without Blake Griffin last season, as they struggled to a 2-5 record in his absence. However, they are a bit better equipped this season than they were last year. They added Markieff Morris in the offseason to be Griffin’s backup and he is a lot better able to defend opposing power forwards simply because he is bigger than the slender Thon Maker and Christian Wood, and better than last year’s options of Jon Leuer and StanleyJohnson.
Sabonis is a player who likes to bully down low, and Morris should be able to put up some resistance against him. However, when the Pistons go to either Thon Maker or Christian Wood off the bench, he could give them some trouble.
On top of adding Morris, the Pistons were able to improve at backup point guard with the addition of Derrick Rose as well as at the small forward position with Tony Snell. The Pistons have a better roster and should be able to stay afloat while Griffin is out, but the margin for error is very small now.
The Pacers are a good team and they are often forgotten when talking about the Eastern Conference. They have a solid roster with good depth and are only going to get better once Oladipo comes back. However, these two teams play most of their games early in the season where the Pacers are likely not going to have Oladipo. This game is going to be tough, but the Pistons have a shot as long as they are able to contain the Pacers twin towers of Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis.
Reggie Jackson, Bruce Brown, Tony Snell, Markieff Morris, Andre Drummond
Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, TJ Warren, Domantas Sabonis, Myles Turner
Pacers 108, Pistons 100
I think the Pistons will get better as they learn to play without Griffin for the first few games, but playing the first game against a team with two tough big men after the shock of losing Griffin makes it very hard for me to predict a Pistons win.
One Big Question
What will be the Pistons record without Blake Griffin this season?