It’s always interesting when two rebuilding teams face off because it gives you a chance to reflect on what things have gone right and wrong for each franchise. A lot has gone right for the Orlando Magic this season, and just about everything has gone wrong for the Detroit Pistons.
There are even some fun analogs Paolo Banchero is the No. 1 overall pick with loads of skill but some inefficiencies needing to be ironed out of his game. That sounds a lot like Cade Cunningham. But because of team context, Banchero just made his first All-Star team and Cunningham is fighting to avoid the worst record in NBA history. Jalen Suggs is the defense-first guard who was so inefficient on offense there were questions about if he had a real home in the NBA. That sounds a lot like Killian Hayes. Except, Suggs managed to become a semi-reliable shooter, going from a 21% 3-point shooter as a rookie to 38% this year, and now he’s talked about as a mainstay of the Magic’s future. Killian Hayes never figured out the whole jump shot and scoring thing, and lately he’s been a healthy scratch.
The biggest differences in these team’s respective rebuilds is that whereas the Pistons decided to surround their young core with offense-only players, the Magic have really leaned into its defensive identity. It’s worked for the Magic, and it hasn’t worked at all for the Pistons.
When: 3 p.m. ET
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +6.5
Detroit Pistons (6-42)
Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Bojan Bogdanovic, Kevin Knox, Jalen Duren
Orlando Magic (26-23)
Markelle Fultz, Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero, Wendell Carter