Cade Cunningham is out again for the Detroit Pistons with shin soreness. He will reportedly miss the next four games at least, including the front half of Detroit’s extended West Coast trip. It wouldn’t surprise me if he misses the entire road trip, but the team says he will be re-evaluated in a week. The Pistons will also be without Alec Burks, who is getting a rest on the second night of a back-to-back after making his season debut Friday against the New York Knicks. But if you’re looking for a spot of good news, Marvin Bagley III will be making his season debut after missing one month with a sprained knee.
Bagley’s role in the offense will be interesting. I’m sure Dwane Casey will be tempted to feed him a lot of minutes as he an excellent interior scoring presence and one of the team’s better rebounders. How much Bagley shares the floor with Isaiah Stewart and Jalen Duren remains an open question. All three are optimally centers on the floor, but the Pistons are interested in a two-big lineup and the return of Bagley allows them to start experimenting.
The loss of Cunningham for even a week makes that an even tougher task to evaluate much less pull off, but that’s why the team has veteran depth pieces like Cory Joseph and Rodney McGruder. Can you feel the excitement?
When: 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, MI
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +9.5
Boston Celtics (9-3)
Marcus Smart, Jalyen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Grant Williams, Al Horford
Detroit Pistons (3-10)
Cory Joseph, Jaden Ivey, Saddiq Bey, Bojan Bogdanovic, Isaiah Stewart
I’m not saying I’m already firmly committed to the “tank beat,” but I will note for no reason whatsoever that LaMelo Ball is expected to make his season debut for the Charlotte Hornets tonight against the Miami Heat. The Hornets currently have a 3-10 record, same as Detroit. The only teams worse than the Pistons currently are the LA Lakers and the Houston Rockets. However, the Pistons own the league’s worst point differential at minus-10.1. Again, can you feel the excitement?