Cade Cunningham will miss his first game of the season for the Detroit Pistons with left shin soreness. That’s bad, obviously, but after playing his worst game of the season against the Boston Celtics, it at least serves as an explanation and is hopefully a temporary bump in the road.
More encouraging is that Alec Burks might make his season debut against his former team, the New York Knicks. The shooting guard would be a big boost to Detroit’s perimeter shooting and anemic bench. If he plays well out of the gate (unlikely as there is plenty of rust to shake off), he could even make an argument for insertion into the starting lineup to improve the team’s spacing as a deep threat and would also play quality defense. Another positive development for the undersized Pistons is the absence of Knicks big man Mitchell Robinson, who is out with a sprained right knee. Robinson had his way with the Pistons in a preseason matchup, and match up a bit better with Jericho Sims and Isaiah Hartenstein.
When: 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Madison Square Garden in New York, NY
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +8
New York Knicks (5-6)
Jalen Brunson, RJ Barrett, Cam Reddish, Julius Randle, Jericho Sims
Detroit Pistons (3-8)
Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Saddiq Bey, Bojan Bogdanovic, Isaiah Stewart
James Edwards at The Athletic has a look at Detroit’s terrible defense with video breakdowns and analysis. It’s gruesome, but nothing our lying eyes aren’t showing us on a nightly basis.
The Pistons certainly seem keen on a two-big lineup, and other teams have toyed around with it recently. Some have been very successful like the Cleveland Cavaliers. Others have really struggled, and Rob Mahoney at The Ringer looks at the mess of a team the Minnesota Timberwolves find themselves in. The team is terrible on offense when Karl-Anthony Towns sits, terrible on defense when Rudy Gobert sits, and mediocre with no spacing for Anthony Edwards to work when they both play.