In retrospect, it’s funny how agitated people were about the two-big lineups for the Detroit Pistons heading into the season. To be clear, I’m excusing Isaiah Stewart plus a big because while I might not love that particular setup, it’s clear the Pistons are committed to seeing if Isaiah Stewart can be a power forward and do some more traditional power forward things while also being a hulking pain on defense.
What I’m talking about are the combos like Jalen Duren-Marvin Bagley, Marvin Bagley-James Wiseman, and Jalen Duren-James Wiseman. The kind of lineups featuring players with range that doesn’t really extend beyond an arm length’s away from the basket. Players you don’t really want dribbling or shooting threes or really doing much of anything except trying to get to the rim.
In the early going this season, there are 53 two-man groups that have received minutes in Detroit. Among all those combinations, Duren has shared zero minutes with Bagley and Wiseman has received four DNP-CDs.
However, tonight, Duren is out with an ankle injury, and that means more minutes for Bagley, the first minutes for Wiseman, and a bunch of interesting new lineup combinations for Monty Williams and the Pistons.
Will Ausar Thompson play more minutes at the four? Will the Pistons start Stewart at center or just slot Bagley into the Duren role? What will Wiseman do with his first chance to contribute?
Is there a team sadder than the Portland Trail Blazers? I don’t have definitive answers, but i might feel most confident in answering the last question with a resounding “NO.” I saw the Blazers with my own eyes during an LA visit to Crypto.com Arena to see the Clippers home opener. The Blazers were a sad bunch who couldn’t defend and the only two players who popped were Shaedon Sharpe and the now-injured Anfernee Simons. The team is missing distributors and playmakers, and it is putting way too much on the plates of old friend Jerami Grant and Deandre Ayton.
After a disappointing showing against the Oklahoma City Thunder, hopefully tonight the Pistons can get back on track.
When: 7 p.m. ET
Where: Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons -3.5
Detroit Pistons (2-2):
Cade Cunningham, Killian Hayes, Ausar Thompson, Isaiah Stewart, Marvin Bagley
Portland Trail Blazers (1-3)
Scoot Henderson, Shaedon Sharpe, Matisse Thybulle, Jerami Grant, Deandre Ayton