The Detroit Pistons have had some roster upheaval following the NBA trade deadline a week ago, with the acquisition of Tobias Harris, and the ill-fated trade involving Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton. To make matters worse, the Pistons have suffered crucial injuries the last two games.
The Detroit Pistons have struggled mightily for most of February, Monday night’s big road win against the Cleveland Cavaliers notwithstanding. They had lost five straight games before taking a 96-88 win against the Cavs, and they have now been bitten by the injury bug.
On Sunday in a 111-106 loss at the Palace to the New Orleans Pelicans, forward Anthony Tolliver went down with a sprained knee, and has been ruled out for two-to-four weeks.
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This loss is magnified in light of the fact that Donatas Motiejunas will not be making his way to Detroit after all following a failed physical, as reported earlier Monday afternoon. This leaves the Pistons short a power forward, and it’s going to force new Piston Tobias Harris into the starting lineup.
Expect Harris to play plenty of minutes in Tolliver’s absence, as there isn’t much behind him on the bench.
The Pistons also lost rookie small forward Stanley Johnson to what appears to be a sprained shoulder late in the game against the Cavs.
The injury didn’t make a lot of waves at the time, but Johnson was fouled and drew an and-one with 8:01 left in the fourth quarter. He hit the free throw to put the Pistons up 18, and then left the game at a stoppage of play at the 6:50 mark without fanfare.
This will force the Pistons to go deeper into their bench for regular minutes if Johnson can’t go Wednesday against the Philadelphia 76ers. Expect Darrun Hilliard to get minutes in his absence, if in fact Johnson misses time.
The Pistons have already made a roster move to combat this short bench, signing power forward Justin Harper from the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the NBA Development League to a ten-day contract.
It wouldn’t be a big surprise to see the Pistons make another similar move in the very near future considering the fact that backup point guard is still a going concern for the team in the aftermath of the Jennings and Ilyasova trade. Stay tuned over the next few days for news on roster changes.