Preseason Opener: Maccabi Haifa at Detroit Pistons

Essentials

  • Teams: Maccabi Haifa at Detroit Pistons
  • Date: October 8, 2013
  • Time: 7:30 p.m.
  • Radio: 97.1 FM The Ticket, 1270 AM
  • TV: none

What to look for

The Detroit Pistons’ preseason will debut tonight at the Palace of Auburn Hills against Maccabi Haifa.

Tonight’s contest is merely an exhibition game, but it will be a look into the makeup of the team under Maurice Cheeks. This game will not be enough to form a definitive opinion on the direction of the Pistons, but it’s still a great way to get a first impression of the team.

The roster and coaching staff from 2012-13 are all but gone. The 2013-14 Pistons are a bit more diverse and more talented. Acquiring the likes of Brandon Jennings, Josh Smith and Chauncey Billups will do that for a team.

Unless something drastic occurs, Jennings and Smith will be in the starting lineup tonight. Expect at least one hookup from them that generates some “Motor Lob City” chatter.

Keep in mind, the Pistons have already been rated as one of the 10 most watchable teams in the league by virtue of their two new acquisitions as well as their young players.

It’s worth paying close attention to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope after he has gotten a few minutes on the court. Nerves may initially get the best of him, but how he adjusts offensively to the speed of the game will be telling even against a non-NBA team.

Speaking of which, most of the NBA teams have limited their projected starters to roughly 20 minutes worth of playing time. However, that has been against competition from the Association.

The Pistons’ coaching staff might want to get a victory when faced against a non-NBA opponent. If such is the case, consider it a win for the fans if the game is close because it will likely result in big minutes for Detroit’s best players.

More specifically, many will be keeping an eye out for the tag team of Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe (with Smith playing alongside them). The tandem has some intriguing potential and could very well be the best emerging big-man pairing in the league.

Former Pistons coach Lawrence Frank rarely gave Drummond a healthy amount of minutes next to Monroe but Cheeks appears headed in a different direction in comparison to his predecessor on this front.

Indeed, Frank only played the second-year player 9.4 minutes per game with Monroe per NBA.com. The two-man group yielded 102.9 points per 100 possessions in 2012-13, which was about league average. Perhaps we get a glimpse tonight for a prolonged period of time of what it looks like when they play heavy minutes together.

Granted, Maccabi will be playing on the backend of a back-to-back set that started last night against the Phoenix Suns. They were blown out in Arizona and it’s entirely possible the same fate awaits them in Detroit.

Read About Maccabi Haifa

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