We finally made it folks. Tonight is the night where the Pistons begin their 2022-2023 season.
When you are a team like the Pistons, who haven’t sniffed anything past the 2nd round of the postseason in 15 years, the summers are long. But the Pistons exciting young core finally gives a reason for optimism. This team may only win 25 games, or they could surprise people and make the Play-In Tournament.
Whatever does happen, Troy Weaver has this team going in the right direction and it is probably the most optimistic the fanbase has been about this team during the entirety of the dark age of Pistons basketball.
Now it is time to do it for real and have some fun and there is no better way to start out the season than at home against another exciting young team in the Orlando Magic.
Where: Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI
When: Wednesday, October 19 at 7 pm EST
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons (-3.5)
It was a relatively quiet offseason for both of these teams, as they both did most of their work during the draft. For the Magic, they won the lottery and got the rights to draft any player of their choice at number 1 overall.
That choice was Paolo Banchero out of Duke, and it came as a bit of a surprise, as there wasn’t a ton of reporting on it before the draft. Banchero is a very good passer and scorer for somebody his size, and if his 3-point shot pops in the NBA, you are looking at a future star for the Orlando Magic to build their team around.
The Magic have a solid team outside of Banchero. Last year’s fellow All-Rookie 1st Team member, Franz Wagner, will be looking to make a jump this season just like the Pistons are hoping to get out of Cade Cunningham.
The Magic also have the very solid Wendell Carter Jr. at Center along with Cole Anthony, who has turned into a very good scorer at the point guard position. They even have last year’s other lottery pick, Jalen Suggs. They have a few other young players, but this preview will end up pretty long if I talk about all of them.
The Magic have a lot of depth and a young core that is just as good as the Detroit Pistons. The teams have very similar roster compositions with veterans like Terrance Ross, Gary Harris, and Markelle Fultz expected to play a good amount of minutes with their young core.
For the Pistons, it was a bit of disappointing winless preseason. There were definitely reasons for optimism on a few fronts, but the Marvin Bagley III injury in the final preseason game did suck some of the air out of the Pistons’ sails.
However, the injury does clear an opportunity for early minutes for Jalen Duren, and if he can make the most of those minutes, it is going to be tough for the Pistons to take them away once some of the older players like Bagley and Nerlens Noel are fully integrated after injuries.
The Pistons are going to give their young players a lot of minutes, but you will also see a lot of minutes out of veterans like offseason acquisitions Alec Burks and Bojan Bogdanovic. Both players are high level shooters for their careers, and it will be very important to flank Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey with reliable shooters. Especially after how poorly the Pistons shot the ball last season.
Killian Hayes showed some flashes of aggressiveness during the Preseason, and he is at the breaking point of his career. He has to carry the aggressiveness into the regular season and keep improving as a shooter if he hopes to get a 2nd contract with the Pistons. His early career ha been a disappointment so far, especially compared to the two players the Pistons drafted after him in Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey. Both of those players are clearly part of the Pistons young core that they hope are contending in the near future, but Hayes remains to be seen.
Speaking of Saddiq Bey, the last time these two teams met last season, he dropped the most unexpected 50-point game with 51 points in a Pistons win. I doubt we will get similar fireworks, but wouldn’t that be a way to start out the season?
For both of these teams, this season will be all about growth. If either one of them compete for the Play-In Tournament, they will absolutely take it, but I don’t foresee them sacrificing the playing time of young players in order to accomplish that. The Pistons and Magic are at very similar points in their respective rebuilds, and this is a very fitting opening night matchup.
Detroit Pistons (0-0): Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey, Saddiq Bey, Bojan Bogdanovic, Isiah Stewart
Orlando Magic (0-0): Cole Anthony, Terrence Ross, Franz Wagner, Paolo Banchero, Wendell Carter Jr.
Who do you think will have the better record between these two teams? What will be that record?