The day has come – the Pistons’ season is set to begin tonight at 7:30 p.m. against the Houston Rockets.
Houston, fresh off a blockbuster trade for 2012 Sixth Man of the Year James Harden, is coming off a disappointing 34-32 season and an offseason that saw them rework nearly their entire roster. The only holdovers from last year are Chase Budinger, Marcus Morris, Chandler Parsons, Patrick Patterson and Greg Smith.
Harden and Jeremy Lin, the team’s two big acquisitions this offseason, will form a backcourt that is surely looking to prove that they can both shoulder a team’s load. Lin, of course, came from New York where every move he made was highlighted and criticized; Harden signed an $80 million extension with the Rockets and has moved out from behind the shadows of former teammates Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Rounding out the rest of the Rockets’ starting five are recent draft picks Morris and Parsons, while offseason signing Omer Asik is the team’s starting center.
In his courtship of Dwight Howard, team GM Daryl Morey stockpiled assets and players in an attempt to sway the big man, to no avail. Now, he has a long roster list and relatively decent depth at most of the team’s position. Rookies Terrence Jones, Royce White, Donatas Motiejunas and Scott Machado are all vying for playing time and could all be contributing players. Former Piston Carlos Delfino and Daequan Cook – acquired in the Harden trade – will provide shooting from beyond the three-point line.
Some notes about the game relating to the Pistons:
- Corey Maggette and Slava Kravstov will be inactive for the Pistons. Maggette is out with a strained left calf that he hurt against Miami almost two weeks ago.
- The starting lineup is like Brandon Knight, Rodney Stuckey, Tayshaun Prince, Jason Maxiell and Greg Monroe. Lawrence Frank liked Maxiell as a starter despite marginal returns in the preseason, primarily because of his defense.
- Andre Drummond will surely get minutes. The young big man can’t sit on the bench and learn as well as he could by playing, so Frank will appease fans’ desires to see the athletic forward play. Expect a few big dunks and blocks if he gets extended time.
- Seeing the chemistry between Stuckey and Knight should be interesting. Both have been described as shoot-first guards, but Knight has shown flashes of point guard play that Stuckey never really did. His ball control and assist-to-turnover ratio will need to improve, but that’s something that will come while logging minutes alongside the same rotation of players.
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