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Pistons vs. Kings preview: Where will the offense come from without Jerami Grant?

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Detroit’s best player sitting out with sore knee

Sacramento Kings v Detroit Pistons Photo by Nic Antaya/Getty Images

It seems like it’s been forever since Detroit played a close, competitive game. The Pistons have either been on the giving or receiving end of lopsided margins the past couple of weeks. Fans are already finding it harder and harder to stick through with this season as it enters the latter stages, so a competitive game (featuring lots of young players contributing) would go a long way. Of course, it’ll be tough to play a super competitive game without Jerami Grant, who is sitting this one out with a sore right knee.

Game Vitals

When: 10 p.m. EST
Where: Golden 1 Center, Sacramento, California
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit+
Odds: Pistons +7

Analysis

Hey, look, Delon Wright is back! Seems like we’re constantly being reacquainted with old friends these days. Since joining the Kings, Wright seems to be struggling to make an impact. That’s no surprise considering the Kings are well-stocked at guard with D’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton and Buddy Hield. That has forced Wright to play primarily off the ball, and that’s not really the role best suited for him.

The Kings are scuffling as of late, including a loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, which Pistons fans paying close attention to the Tank Watch will always appreciate. Previous to that tumble, Sacramento had pulled out seven of eight. Just your typical wild season for Sacto.

The Kings rely on those aforementioned guards to juice a relatively potent offense, but the story is the same as it ever was — the team is dreadful on defense. Awful on the boards. Doesn’t generate any steals, which limits their transition opportunities despite having an electric guard like Fox running the show.

The big question for the Pistons is — where is the offense going to come from? In the blowout loss to the Nuggets, the only two players who were able to generate anything were Grant and rookie Saddiq Bey. And a lot of Bey’s looks originated with movement and attention paid to Grant.

The offense needs to come from somewhere. Perhaps in this case the big men will be able to balance the load a bit. This could be a sneaky good Mason Plumlee game and a prime candidate for an Isaiah Stewart breakout if he can feast on some second-chance opportunities early.

Detroit’s defense will need to limit penetration of Kings’ guards, which, well, good luck with that.

Finally, hopefully the best story line of tonight will belong to the second and third point guards taken in the most recent NBA Draft — Killian Hayes and Tyrese Haliburton. Hayes had a strong game against the OKC Thunder and sat out the Nuggets game as he ramps up activity after an extended absence due to injury.

Haliburton, meanwhile, has shined bright all season as the perfect complementary guard to the dynamic Fox, and understands the game at both ends in a way not common for a rookie.

Projected Lineups

Detroit Pistons (15-36)

Saben Lee, Josh Jackson, Saddiq Bey, Hamidou Diallo, Mason Plumlee

Sacramento Kings (22-29)

D’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Richaun Holmes

Question of the Game

Who will lead the Detroit Pistons in scoring tonight?