First and foremost, I would expect tonight to be a showcase for Jaden Ivey, picked fifth overall by the Pistons and a guy who could excel as a lead guard, initiator, playmaker and explosive athlete. Those attributes usually point to some success in the disjointed up and down nature of Summer League action.
Second is, when is the game and where can you watch it? The game against the Portland Trail Blazers is scheduled to tip at midnight tonight and available on ESPN. It is the second game scheduled at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas after the 10 p.m. tip of Houston vs. Orlando, so if that game goes long it could push the start time of the Pistons game.
The next big question is about Detroit’s other lottery pick Jalen Duren. The Memphis big man was left off the Summer League roster until the Pistons’ draft night trade that netted Duren could be finalized Wednesday afternoon.
James Edwards of The Athletic reports that Duren will be active for tonight’s inaugural game.
Sources: Jalen Duren will be active for the Pistons’ summer league team tonight.— James Edwards III (@JLEdwardsIII) July 7, 2022
There is the good news. Now for some less good news. Yesterday, we pointed to an Instagram post from Gabriele Procida indicating he was about to land in Las Vegas. This led many, myself included, to believe the Italian second-round pick would suit up for the Pistons in Summer League.
Pistons.com editor Keith Langlois says not so fast. There is no expectation that Procida will play for the Pistons during Summer League, though he will be around the team.
There is no expectation that Pistons second-rounder Gabriele Procida will play in Summer League, but he's in Las Vegas and observed today's practice and talked with Dwane Casey at length afterward.— Keith Langlois (@Keith_Langlois) July 7, 2022
Then, of course, there is trying to get a sense of which of the many Pistons veterans might actually see the floor. Cade Cunningham is expected to sit out, and the prevailing wisdom is that Saddiq Bey will likely sit as well.
However, there seems to be some consensus that it’s likely Saben Lee, Killian Hayes and Isaiah Stewart get playing time, at least in the first game. Last year’s second-round picks Isaiah Livers and Balsa Kopravica are also expected to play.
Of the non-roster players, two-way guys Braxton Key and Buddy Boeheim will see plenty of action, and for the rest of the rookies ready to make their debuts, our own Steve Pelletier has a huge breakdown of every new face on the roster dropping at noon.