Pistons vs. Pelicans preview: On the road in New Orleans

Detroit Bad Boys

The Detroit Pistons preseason opener against the New York Knicks was a mixed bag of mostly bad things. The final score reflects that, but of the few bright spots, the most important were the quality play of rookies Jaden Ivey and Jalen Duren.

The Pistons struggled mightily with the Knicks’ aggressive defense and turned the ball over 21 times. This is to be expected with a young team playing a lot of young ball handlers, but many of the turnovers were just sloppy and unforced.

The Pistons will have to clean things up a bit if they want to stand a chance against the New Orleans Pelcians, and given how bad a majority of the team played against New York, I would expect most of the regular rotation to play in this game.

Game Vitals

Where: Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, LA
When: Friday, October 7 at 8:00 pm EST
Watch: NBA League Pass (via Bally Sports New Orleans), Not on Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +6.5

Analysis

Giving any kind of analysis on a preseason game is tough given the fact that you don’t really know who is going to be playing. But the Pelicans enter this contest coming off a surprise win in the Play-In Tournament last season and a competitive series against the Phoenix Suns in the 1st round of the playoffs.

They did all of that without Zion Williamson, who missed last season with an injury. The Pelicans are looking to build off of that momentum, and getting back your best player will help a lot in doing that.

Williamson did play in the Pelicans first preseason game, so I would expect him to play in this one. He will probably only play 15 minutes like he did in their first game, but they have to give him playing time as he works his way back into playing shape.

The acquisition of CJ McCollum from the Portland Trail Blazers was a huge reason for the Pelicans strong close to last season, and they awarded him with a lucrative two-year, $64 million extension. The Pelicans now have a strong core locked in for the next couple years in McCollum, Williamson, and Brandon Ingram. They also have solid depth around them and a plethora of draft picks.

If New Orleans handles all of these assets correctly, they could be one of the better teams in the league in a few years.

One of the players they grabbed with one of their extra draft picks was Dyson Daniels. I would expect to see a lot of Dyson Daniels in this game for the Pelicans, he put up 15 points in his preseason debut. He did it on 15 shots, but it was also his first NBA action. It will be fun to see him and Jaden Ivey go at it, both players are expected to play.

Another intriguing matchup will be Herb Jones on Cade Cunningham. They might not spend a ton of time on the court together, but both players were All Rookie performers last season and you could even argue that Herb Jones deserved to be on the 1st team just like Cade Cunningham. Jones has the size and defensive chops to hang with Cunningham, so it would make sense to match him up on Cunningham.

Once again, I would expect a heavy dose of Jalen Duren off the bench for the Pistons. We will also probably see quite a bit of Killian Hayes as he looks to build off of the solid performance he had in the 1st preseason game.

Outside of that, who plays and how much they play is completely up in the air. I would expect the Pistons to start with the same starting lineup as last game, but Dwane Casey could also try something else out.

Projected Lineups

Detroit Pistons (0-1)

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

New Orleans Pelicans (1-0)

CJ McCollum, Herb Jones, Naji Marshall, Zion Williamson, Jonas Valanciunas

Question of the Day

Do you expect the Pistons to play their expected rotation players in every game this preseason?

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