Game one without Cade Cunningham. How will the 3-33 Detroit Pistons fare without their best offensive player and team leader? Well, it probably won’t go well. But that doesn’t mean this game is entirely meritless. It is an opportunity to see other players in expanded roles, with the team likely to parcel out Cunningham’s 30% usage among a crop of Bojan Bogdanovic, Jaden Ivey, Killian Hayes, and, to a lesser extent, Marcus Sasser. There is also a chance this opens up the aperture on Ausar Thompson’s role in the offense. The rookie forward was moved to the bench to accomodate more spacing in the starting lineup.
Unfortunately, that has forced the shot-challenged Thompson into lineups with some similarly offensively deficient players. That means the cutting lanes and alley oops he feasted on early in the year are no longer available. He’s done a lot of standing in a lot of corners since being shunted to the bench.
Thompson is still likely to be a reserve, but with Killian forced into the starting lineup and the trust in rookie Sasser to actually run the offense being an open question, Ausar might get some additional ball-handling responsibilities. That would certainly be a welcome sight, provided he can manage to keep the turnovers to a relative minimum.
When: 7 p.m. ET
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +11
Detroit Pistons (3-33):
Killian Hayes, Jaden Ivey, Isaiah Livers, Bojan Bogdanovic, Jalen Duren
Sacramento Kings (20-14):
De’Aaron Fox, Kevin Huerter, Harrison Barnes, Keegan Murray, Domantas Sabonis