Pistons vs. Knicks Preview: Cade Cunningham ready to rev the MotorCade’s engine

Detroit Bad Boys

Cade Cunningham is back, and he’s stronger than ever. The Detroit Pistons are back, and they have more athleticism on the roster than they’ve had in 20 years. Basketball is back and it should be a heck of a lot of fun. Detroit’s opponent for the first preseason game is the new-look New York Knicks led by Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett.

Game Vitals

When: 7 p.m. ET
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, New York
Watch: TNT
Odds: Pistons +4

Analysis

The fans are excited, and they have plenty of reason to be. Cade Cunningham is spotting a new beard, a more chiseled frame and has some new toys to play with as he looks to establish himself in his sophomore campaign.

But it seems to be those new toys that have fans so hyped. He’ll likely be starting alongside rookie Jaden Ivey who has next-level athleticism and elite burst. Then there is rookie center Jalen Duren, who despite being the youngest player in the NBA at just 18 years old looks to be so naturally gifted it’ll be hard to keep him off the hardwood.

And if you’re looking for something a little more seasoned, Detroit just added veteran sharpshooter Bojan Bogdanovic to be a high-volume, high-efficiency perimeter threat that can be that stabilizing influence on the young roster similar to the role the now-departed Jerami Grant played the past two years.

There are some incumbents worth mentioning, too. Isaiah Stewart has been given the green light to shoot from deep and looks to split time between center and small forward. It’s one thing to sink them in practice or NBA Summer League. Now, he will get his first big test to see if his deep ball is a reliable threat.

Saddiq Bey is looking to merge his effective catch-and-shoot first season with his more dynamic but less efficient sophomore campaign into a dangerous and reliable third option at the forward position who the team can trust for 32 minutes per night.

Killian Hayes reworked his shot and is hoping to put a stranglehold on the backup point guard position as the team’s best perimeter defender, elite playmaker and finally, as a legitimate NBA scoring option.

Also, dunks. There should be plenty of dunks. From Ivey, from Duren. From the freshly (over)paid Marvin Bagley III. From Hamidou Diallo. Dunks. Bring them to me.

What about the Knicks? Brunson and Barrett got paid, and they want to live up to their new deals. Julius Randle is looking to shake off the terrible season he had a year ago and show he still deserves to be a primary offensive option for the Knicks. We will get to see old friend Derrick Rose, and they might even dust off Obi Toppin for extended minutes.

Whatever happens, it’ll be on national television, so please, Pistons, reward those NBA watchers who pegged Detroit as the buzzy underdogs who might surprise people this year. You only get one chance to make a first impression, and tonight’s the night.

Projected Lineups

Detroit Pistons

Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Saddiq Bey, Bojan Bogdanovic, Isaiah Stewart

New York Knicks

Jalen Brunson, Immanuel Quickley, Evan Fournier, Obi Toppin, Mitchell Robinson

Question of the Game

Will there be more Bojan 3s or Ivey dunks during tonight’s game?

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