Raptors vs. Pistons Preview: Detroit could be able to exploit Toronto’s first unit

Essentials

  • Teams: Toronto Raptors at Detroit Pistons
  • Date: October 10, 2012
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Television: Fox Sports Detroit, NBATV

Records

  • Raptors: 1-0
  • Pistons: 0-0

Probable Starters

Raptors

  • Jose Calderon
  • Demar DeRozan
  • Landry Fields
  • Andrea Bargani
  • Aaron Gray

Pistons

Read about the Raptors

Raptors Republic

What to look for

The Detroit Pistons will open up the preseason tonight against the Toronto Raptor,s who are fresh off a home victory against Real Madrid.

This will be the first opportunity to watch the Pistons and get an idea of how they will look this upcoming season.

They should get some chances to strut their stuff on offense against the Raptors’ first unit provided they favor ball movement as opposed to isolation-heavy basketball.

Indeed, although it was merely an exhibition game, the Raptors starters looked slow on rotations defensively when Real Madrid ran pick-and-rolls; and also Toronto’s first unit did a poor job of running through screens, which afforded their opponents a multitude of open looks.

Consequently, if the Pistons run their offense and get players running through screens, it should allow them not only to get open looks but also to break down defenders off the dribble — looking at you Rodney Stuckey — and get to the rim for uncontested shots.

It’s worth noting that Raptors may well rectify some of these issues after getting exposed against Real Madrid.

Keep in mind though, as poor as the starters looked defensively, the second unit provided far more defensive resistance. The quintet of John Lucas, Terrence Ross, Linas Kleiza, Ed Davis and Amir Johnson fought through screens, rotated crisply on defense, clogged the lane, closed out on shooters, provided rim protection, protected their backboards and got out on the break.

Offensively, Calderon is currently the Raptors maestro as Kyle Lowry is nursing a leg injury.

It will be interesting to see how the Pistons compete defensively against a Raptors team that will essentially put the ball on the floor from every position on the court — literally every — in an effort to the get to the rim. The Raps drove with reckless abandon to the rim against Real Madrid and didn’t necessarily always take good shots. This should be an opportunity for the Pistons big men to flex their muscles on the interior and show what type of defensive team they will be.

Although this is the Pistons’ first preseason game, it may give us a snippet into what to expect from the team, particularly the second unit, considering that they may well in fact have a dog fight awaiting them against the Raptors bench players.