I took a stab at predicting what the Detroit Pistons 10-man rotation might look like on opening night in today’s Detroit Free Press column, including making a case that whoever has the better camp between Andre Drummond and Slava Kravstov should start at center. Basically, coaches are probably more likely to play young, in-need-of-development big men early in games than late in games. So if Drummond or Kravstov starts and plays 6-10 minutes at the start of each half, that allows Lawrence Frank to play veterans, who he’s probably more comfortable with, late in games.
I looked at each position but, to me, small forward and center are going to be the most interesting positional battles:
Predicted minutes breakdown: As a veteran who rarely makes mistakes, Frank, like most coaches would be, is probably tempted to play Prince heavy minutes. At this point though, the Pistons would be best served by limiting Prince to 28-30 minutes per game. The other 18 minutes could be divided between the Maggette-Jerebko combination. Maggette’s aforementioned foul-drawing ability should get on the court, particularly with Stuckey. And Jerebko’s speed and movement without the ball compliments both Stuckey and Knight, who are better passers in transition and up-tempo situations than in the half-court, and also Monroe, who is great at finding cutters.
Out of the rotation: Kyle Singler would probably get minutes on some teams, but I’m not convinced he doesn’t do anything that Jerebko doesn’t do better. Khris Middleton, because of his position, just seems to be the most likely guy glued to the end of the bench this season. Daye has played small forward in the past, but it’s hard to see him taking minutes from Prince, Maggette or Jerebko.