Will the players play? After veterans skip shootaround, Pistons lineup is up in the air

Essentials

Teams: Detroit Pistons at Philadelphia 76ers

Date: Feb. 25, 2011

Time: 7 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Detroit

Records

Pistons: 21-38

76ers: 28-29

Probable starters

Pistons:

I would guess Monroe starts since he wasn’t involved in the alleged skipping shoot-around protest earlier today. Tayshaun Prince, Rip Hamilton, Ben Wallace, Chris Wilcox and Tracy McGrady didn’t attend. Austin Daye and Rodney Stuckey both showed up as the shoot-around was ending, as reported by Vincent Goodwill. Now, Goodwill also reported that each who missed had excuses — ranging from the flu to headaches. At any rate, Kuester’s comments suggested he wasn’t necessarily buying the excuses:

“We’ll go with the group that was here. We have a number of guys who have that bug,” Kuester said. “These guys went through shootaround the way they were supposed to.”

76ers:

  • Jrue Holiday
  • Jodie Meeks
  • Andre Iguodala
  • Elton Brand
  • Spencer Hawes

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Pistons +9

Over/under: 193

Score: Sixers win, 101-92

Three things to watch

1.  Bench players: this is your opportunity

Players like Charlie Villanueva, DaJuan Summers, Will Bynum, Ben Gordon and Jason Maxiell undoubtedly want to play more. If Kuester is really committed to punishing guys he believes missed shootaround with ill-intentions (if in fact Kuester really believes it was a type of revolt, which he hasn’t said one way or the other yet), this is an opportunity for the “we should play more” crew. One of my favorite lines from one of my favorite coaches came from Saginaw High’s Lou Dawkins. After he was upset with his team about a lack of focus and discipline in a loss to an inferior team, he told them, “I ain’t got no starters no mo. You want it, go get it.”

2. Philly’s depth could be a problem

With possibly a depleted bench, depending on how the no-show situation is resolved, the Pistons will have to deal with a Philly team that is pretty deep. The Sixers bring capable players like Lou Williams, Thad Young and Evan Turner off the bench, as well as young big man Mareese Speights, who has played well against the Pistons a couple times in his career.

3. A flukey win

The Pistons actually beat Philly in January despite the Sixers out-shooting the Pistons 48 percent to 44 percent. The Pistons won by sharing the ball (24 assists) and taking care of the ball (11 turnovers). Philly has played better since and could get to .500 with a win. Brand and Speights combined for 21 rebounds in the last game and both shot the ball extremely well as big men are wont to do against Detroit. Expect Philly to work the ball inside, especially if the Pistons play without Wallace.

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