Andre Drummond is gone. Marvin Williams is gone. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is gone. Blake Griffin is out, Derrick Rose is out, Markieff Morris is out. Bismack Biyombo and Cody Zeller look to play less and less.
It’s the dawning of a new era of two moribund franchises, and two teams fighting each other in the bottom rung of the Eastern Conference. The Detroit Pistons sit at 19-37 and the Charlotte Hornets are 16-36.
Detroit, however, has the third most difficult schedule remaining in the NBA while the Hornets have just the 15th hardest. In fact, outside of a March 20th tilt against the Golden State Warriors, this could be the final game the Pistons will be favored in at home for the rest of the season.
So do you want to win or do you want to lose?
When: 7 p.m. EST
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Watch: Fox Sports Detroit
Tickets: Buy tickets on Stubhub
While the Pistons traded away their biggest star as a sign that the full rebuild was on, the Hornets decided to simply buy out a couple of veterans as a show of good will. Even before that move, however, Charlotte was dedicating more and more playing time to the youth on its roster.
Of the eight players who have seen the most action in the past 10 games, only one, Cody Zeller (27) is older than 25 years old. The Hornets are giving the lions share of the workload to Devonte Graham, Terry Rozier, Miles Bridges, PJ Washington, Malik Monk, Willy Hernangomez and Cody Martin.
It’s something Detroit could learn from as Dwane Casey is still too reluctant to give minutes to young players at the expense of guys like Langston Galloway and Tony Snell.
The Rozier-Graham backcourt is a fascinating one as the two chuckers are hoisting 16.5 3-pointers in the past 10 games and hitting at a respectable 37% clip. That offense isn’t enough to compensate for the Hornets’ dreadful defense, however, and has contributed to Charlotte owning the worst net rating (-13.6) of any team in the past 10 games. The Pistons own the third-worst mark in that span but are almost half as bad as Charlotte (-7.8).
If the Pistons do manage to eke out a victory it’s going to be because Detroit’s big men, specifically Christian Wood, likely exploded for a huge game. The Hornets just don’t really have much in the middle.
Two bad teams are going to face off and it’s going to be one of those unstoppable force vs. an immovable object type nights. One of these teams has to win, and it might come down to which team wants it less.
But with each passing day, at least, Casey is playing the young guys, even if just in drips and drabs. He’s heavily invested in Sekou Doumbouya and I’m not sure if the yo-yoing of minutes, starting spots and responsibility is the right call, but Casey is obviously trying to communicate with and get through to the 19-year-old Sekou, and has the long game in mind.
He’s also starting to give Jordan Bone some run and Louis King is always a possibility. I’m not sure if Casey will feel obligated to play newly acquired veterans John Henson and Brandon Knight much, but with all the injuries Detroit is dealing with it’s not like they’d be blocking anyone important.
At this point, I just want to see Luke Kennard back on the floor and see how he fits in with Sekou and Wood.
Reggie Jackson, Bruce Brown, Tony Snell, Christian Wood, Thon Maker
Devonte Graham, Terry Rozier, Miles Bridges, PJ Washington, Cody Zeller
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