Hak Cipta © 2020 NBA Media Ventures, LLC. Seluruh hak cipta. Tidak ada bagian dari NBA.com yang dapat digandakan, didistribusikan ulang, atau dimanipulasi dalam bentuk apa pun. Situs ini dioperasikan bersama oleh NBA dan WarnerMedia. Untuk menyisih dari penjualan informasi pribadi Anda sebagaimana diizinkan oleh Undang-Undang Privasi Konsumen California, gunakan tautan di bawah ini untuk mengunjungi pusat privasi masing-masing perusahaan. Jika Anda membuat permintaan melalui WarnerMedia Privacy Center, itu akan berlaku untuk data yang dikendalikan bersama oleh NBA dan WarnerMedia serta data lain yang dikendalikan oleh WarnerMedia. Jika Anda membuat permintaan melalui Pusat Privasi NBA, itu akan berlaku untuk data yang dikontrol secara independen oleh NBA. Pusat Privasi NBA | Pusat Privasi WarnerMedia | Jangan Menjual Informasi Pribadi Saya | Ketentuan Penggunaan | Aksesibilitas dan Teks Tertutup | | Kelola Preferensi
41 weeks between games that counted, it’s going to heat up in a hurry for Pistons
It will be 41 weeks to the day – 287 days, if you prefer – since the Pistons last played a game that counted in the NBA standings when they open the 2020-21 season at Minnesota on Wednesday.
If the chaotic events of 2020 have walled you off from such pursuits, you should know that a few things have changed.
The Pistons hired a new general manager in June, Troy Weaver, after he’d made a name for himself as the No. 2 man in Oklahoma City’s front office with a reputation for being able to spot talent a half-step ahead of the field.
Weaver, whose hands were tied from reinventing the Pistons for five months with the draft and free agency pushed back and a moratorium on trades, wasted zero time in recasting the roster. He said when he was introduced last summer that the old way of thinking about rebuilding didn’t exist any longer and he proved it. What Weaver did with the Pistons over the span of a dizzying week in November wasn’t a rebuilding, it was an Amish barn raising.
And chances are you’ll see many of those new faces in Wednesday’s opener, too.
Dwane Casey used a greatly expanded rotation during the abbreviated four-game preseason, routinely playing 12 players in the first half of games. It’s conceivable that number won’t be much different in the Minnesota opener – or for the next several games to follow.
It’s almost a lock that Casey will play at least 10 with the first unit in all four preseason games consisting of Blake Griffin and four of the 11 newcomers to the roster: Mason Plumlee and Jerami Grant, teammates in Denver last season, up front with Griffin and guards Killian Hayes, the No. 7 pick in the November draft, and Delon Wright, who spent his first three NBA seasons playing for Casey in Toronto.
The second unit will be anchored by Derrick Rose, likely flanked by two more newcomers – Josh Jackson, the No. 4 pick in the 2017 draft and a Detroit native, and Jahlil Okafor, the No. 3 pick in the 2015 draft – and the only two other holdovers from 2019-20, Svi Mykhailiuk and 2019 Pistons first-rounder Sekou Doumbouya.
There appear two other contenders for regular rotation spots out of the gate: Saddiq Bey, the 19th pick in last month’s draft, and veteran Wayne Ellington, a 3-point shooter who helped the Pistons make the 2019 playoffs after his February addition to the roster.
It wouldn’t be a shocker if no Pistons played as many as 30 minutes a game. Grant, given a reported $60 million over three years to come to the Pistons in free agency, is the most likely to do so. The Pistons are likely to be mindful of wear and tear on Griffin and Rose – especially given the fact that the NBA plans a 72-game schedule across 146 days. Though the NBA has released only the first half of the schedule – a nod to the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic might require adjustments for the second half – the Pistons already have nine back-to-backs scheduled, tied for the league lead.
The other factor that argues for a deeper rotation is the fact that the Pistons have broader roster parity than they’ve had in many years. Beyond Griffin, Rose and Grant, the difference in talent between four and 12 or 13 appears razor thin. Casey can mix and match as matchups dictate – at least until players separate themselves with their performances.
The last few roster spots – the players who didn’t appear routinely in the first half of preseason games – are occupied by veteran Rodney McGruder and three rookies: Isaiah Stewart, Deividas Sirvydis and Saben Lee, the latter on a two-way contract. McGruder was a starter as recently as 2018-19 in Miami and was cited by Casey in training camp for his hard-nosed defense. It wouldn’t be a surprise if he factored at some point on the wing.
And defense – where their new-found size and defensive versatility give them the tools to become consistently strong – is where the Pistons are pushing their chips early in the season. They finished No. 1 in preseason defensive rating and 29th in offense, the latter largely a product of their 21.5 turnovers per game. Casey’s offenses have been among the NBA’s best at producing the most efficient shots dating to his Toronto teams, but a few things suggest that it’s probably going to take a while for the 2020-21 Pistons to find their groove offensively.
First and foremost, they’re starting a rookie point guard in Hayes in a league that is historically harsh on rookie point guards. Then there’s the fact of the 11 new faces assembled mere days before camp opened, limiting any chance for the typical pre-camp scrimmaging where familiarity gets traction. And, finally, there’s the fact that beyond Mykahiliuk and Ellington – and there might not be heavy minutes available for both – there are questions about where the Pistons will find reliable 3-point shooting at the volume required in today’s NBA.
All that parity of talent, all of that youth, all of the hundreds of possible lineup permutations mean Casey has a lot on his plate in a season that serves as a bridge to the Pistons future. After nine months between games that mattered, it’s going to heat up in a hurry.