Pistons vs. Bucks preview: Rotation roulette in Milwaukee

Detroit Bad Boys

The Pistons season was off to a promising 2-1 start, but as the injuries have started to pile up, the fun, defensively gritty team has turned into a nightly question of who will play and how much they will lose by.

The NBA schedule makers haven’t done the Pistons any favor, as after a 4th quarter collapse against the Trail Blazers last week, they have faced the New Orleans Pelicans, Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warrios, and now the Milwaukee Bucks.

This season was supposed to be different, but it is already looking like more of the same.

Game Vitals

Where: Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, WI
When: Wednesday, Nov. 8 at 8 PM EST
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Bucks (-12.5)

Analysis

I wouldn’t call the Bucks disappointing, as they are currently 4-2 and winners of 3 of their last 5 games, however, the Damian Lillard trade hasn’t been the immediate resounding success that people thought it would be.

For one, their defense has taken a hit, which was to be expected when you replace Jrue Holiday with Damian Lillard. Lillard is only averaging 22.7 points so far this season while only shooting 40 percent from the field and 33 percent from 3. And it isn’t like he has taken on more of a distributor role on a better team, as he is averaging a career-low 5 assists per game.

This is a very small sample size of only 6 games, so I don’t expect Lillard’s struggles to continue, but if he isn’t playing up to his usual level on offense, the trade for him doesn’t look great since you knew there was going to be a drop off defensively.

The only thing that matters for the Bucks is that they have Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Pistons do not and more importantly, the Pistons have nobody that can stop him. I am sure Ausar Thompson will give it a try, but this could be the first matchup where he actually looks like a rookie defensively.

The Bucks also have Brook Lopez, who has always been a Piston-killer so I am sure he will go 8-of-10 from three.

I would try to give more analysis on the Pistons rotation, but that is difficult to do given how many players may or may not be out. We know Bojan Bogdanovic, Monte Morris, and Isaiah Livers are out, but the Pistons could also be without Alec Burks, Jalen Duren, Jaden Ivey, and Joe Harris.

I would suspect Jaden Ivey will be back from illness and Duren could also be back, but we will just have to see. The ragtag group of Pistons end-of-bench rotation players put up a solid fight against Golden State on Monday and were even leading in the 4th quarter, but the Warriors were ultimately too much for them. Stanley Umude had a career-night with 15 points on 4-5 shooting from beyond the arc.

Umude seems to be the 2-way player that Monty Williams trusts the most, as he has seen time in most of the games this season. He probably sees some solid action even if Ivey and Duren return to the lineup.

One good thing for this matchup is that Damian Lillard will not give Cade Cunningham as much ball pressure as Jrue Holliday would, so hopefully he can have a better game in regards to turnovers. He will still have to be careful on cross court passes with Giannis lurking, but he might have a bit more room to breathe.

The Pistons are badly in need of some extra punch offensively, so hopefully Jaden Ivey is back and can be given some more minutes with a few more rotation players missing.

I don’t give the Pistons much of shot in this one at full strength, so they have very little chance being short-handed, even if the Bucks are without Khris Middleton, who may not play.

Lineups

Detroit Pistons (2-6): Cade Cunningham, Killian Hayes, Ausar Thompson, Isaiah Stewart, Jalen Duren

Milwaukee Bucks (4-2): Damian Lillard, Malik Beasley, Jae Crowder, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brook Lopez

Question of the Day

Is it time for a starting lineup change or do you just wait until players get healthy?

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