Pistons vs. Grizzlies preview: Detroit faces the pinnacle of young rebuilding teams in today’s NBA

Detroit Bad Boys

The Detroit Pistons face the Memphis Grizzlies in the team’s final tune-up before the regular season kicks off Oct. 19 against the Orlando Magic. The Pistons are still looking for their first win, with three uninspiring performances so far this preseason.

The Grizzlies, meanwhile, are 2-2, and are coming off a loss to the Orlando Magic, that saw them hit just 40% of their shots. Star point guard Ja Morant shot just 8-of-24. The Pistons are coming off a thrashing at the hands o the Oklahoma City Thunder with their star, Cade Cunningham shoot just 3-of-13 and had more turnovers (4) than assists (2).

Game Vitals

When: 7 p.m. ET
Where: Little Caesars Arena, Detroit, Michigan
Watch: Ball Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons +5

Analysis

There have been some quality performances for individual players so far this preseason, but the Pistons are still looking for the team to put together a complete game. Saddiq Bey looked solid against the Thunder and Killian had his most encouraging game in a long time as a passer, scorer and defender. Against the Pelicans, Cade Cunningham had a passable game, which is a rave based on his other two performances. Jaden Ivey had a strong first showing against the Knicks, but has struggled with his decision-making in the two games since.

The defense is a mess and the bigs have been concerning and that isn’t even taking into account the injury to Marvin Bagley that will see him miss the first few weeks of the season. The switch scheme has left the paint virtually unprotected throughout the preseason. The Pistons defense is predicated on forcing opponents to shoot from the mid-range, but Detroit is forcing the fewest mid-range attempts so far this preseason at 4.7 per game. The next-worst team is the Miami Heat at 7.0 per game and the Bucks at No. 1 forcing four times as many mid-rangers at 18 per night.

Detroit has one more night to figure out how to execute its intended scheme before the games count for real, and they don’t even seem to have settled on a starting lineup, which makes the defensive choices and challenges even more acute.

Does the team start the dangerous perimeter shooter Bojan Bogdanovic, who will likely struggle to keep pace with the league’s starting power forwards, or do they fully commit to Isaiah Stewart at the four in a two-big lineup? If they prefer the latter, does the team want to start rookie Jalen Duren or are they confident veteran Nerlens Noel is nearly ready to return? Or do they throw a curve ball and just go with second-year forward Isaiah Livers and see if it sticks?

Projected Lineup

Detroit Pistons (0-3)

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

Memphis Grizzlies (2-2)

Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Dillon Brooks, Santi Aldama, Steven Adams

Question of the Day

Who will be in the team’s starting lineup on opening night against the Orlando Magic?

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