Rodney Stuckey won’t start, Rip Hamilton and Will Bynum will play tonight against Charlotte



Date: Nov. 5, 2010

Time: 7:30 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Detroit


Pistons: 0-5

Bobcats: 1-3

Probable starters



D.J. Augustin

Stephen Jackson

Gerald Wallace

Boris Diaw

Nazr Mohammed

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Detroit -1.5

Over/under: 183.5

Score: Pistons win, 92.5-91

Three things to watch

1. This weekend will make or break the rest of the season.

Hyperbole much? That’s generally not my style, but the Pistons have two home games this weekend, beginning tonight vs. Charlotte, against beatable teams. They play  Golden State on Sunday. Why are these games so pivotal? Because if the Pistons lose both, they have to go out West for road games against the much-improved Clippers, the Kings (not good, but they have a big front line) and Golden State before returning home to play the Lakers. It’s not like any of those teams are significantly better than the Pistons, but West trips are always hard, particularly if the Pistons don’t have a strong showing at home. Then their reward upon returning home is the Lakers. As Feldman already mentioned, the Pistons early schedule has not helped matters.

If the Pistons don’t beat Charlotte or  Golden State this weekend, well, I just don’t want to think about that right now.

2. Does Larry Brown have another star pupil?

D.J. Augustin is starting to resemble a Larry Brown point guard. His shooting percentage is not great (39 percent), but he is shooting 50 percent from three while averaging 6 assists and 1.5 turnovers per game. Augustin is still not a very good defensive player, and he’s still prone to young player mistakes, but he’s the proof once again that Brown can work with what he’s given. He’d probably rather have a different point guard (and don’t think he wouldn’t bring Eric Snow out of retirement in a second if he was given the chance), but so far for the Bobcats, Augustin is playing within himself reasonably well and Brown is playing him 38 minutes a game, mainly because the Bobcats are arguably as thin at PG as the Pistons are.

3. What would life without Stuckey look like?

Since he’s been drafted, Stuckey has been treated as the future. All conversations about the longterm success of the team started and ended with Stuckey developing into a franchise player. Joe Dumars, from the moment he gave the ‘no sacred cows except for Stuckey’ speach, has talked about Stuck like his future All-Stardom is a foregone conclusion.

Well, this season, some cracks have emerged. First, the team didn’t seem to make any attempt at negotiating a contract extension. Now, Stuckey and his coach seem to hate each other. The Pistons haven’t had much outward defiance from players compared to a lot of other NBA teams over the years, and I can’t see Dumars having much tolerance for it. There’s a growing chance Stuckey might not be in Detroit for the long haul, it will be interesting to see how the Pistons look if they play without him tonight.

Pregame Reading