Detroit Pistons: The Day After Knicks observations

Dec 11, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin (23)Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 11, 2020; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin (23)Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports /
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After giving it some thought, here are some next day observations on the Detroit Pistons, 90-84, loss to the New York Knicks, in the first exhibition game of the NBA season.

It was exactly nine months to the day that the Detroit Pistons had last played a game. That fans actually got to see the team play, was a victory in itself.

The bad news, some fans found their normal feed for Fox Sports Detroit no longer in service. That was a major bummer.

Thinking about it overnight, here are some observations on the Excellent, Good, Not so good and Really not so good takes from the game.

And one trivia question: The official attendance at the game was 1. Can you name the 1. (answer at  end of story)

Excellent

  • Blake Griffin –  He looked like Blake Griffin, which was very good to see. Coach Dwane Casey said he had looked like the old Blake in practice. He sure did in this game, notching six points, five rebounds and five assists just in the first period. He led the team in rebounds and assists.
  • Saddiq Bey – The Pistons gave up a lot to draft him with the No. 19 overall pick. It looks like it was worth it, based on his first action. He scored 14 points in 19 minutes and was solid overall. Was also a team-high +11.
  • Svi Mykhailiuk – He scored 14 points in 15 1/2 minutes. Unlike last year’s squad, there are not a lot of outside shooters on this roster. He sank 4 of 8 three-point attempts. He was also active on the defensive end.

Good

  • The Kids are Alright – the Knicks went all out for the win (for some reason) and had their starters in at the end of the game. Casey had put in a lineup of mostly kids  with center Isaiah Stewart, guard Saben Lee, Bey and Mykhailiuk plus veteran guard Rodney McGruder, who is most likely a deep sub in the regular season. This lineup actually cut the Knicks double-digit lead down to six twice in the final minute.
  • Jahlil Okafor – It has been a long time since 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie drafted him instead of Kristaps Porzingis, but he still showed he has low-post moves. He made both of his shot attempts and finished with five points and four rebounds. For a team that might be looking for a pound-it-inside player, Okafor showed something.
  • Detroit Pistons dancers – Probably should be in Excellent category. When your job is to entertain fans, and there are none (except 1), it certainly makes your job tougher. Despite that, the dancers at least made the commercial breaks entertaining. They each were set up in front of an entrance, and danced their hearts out.

Not so good

  • Jerami Grant’s debut – The $60 million dollar man had a miserable night shooting, going 1 for 11 (Yikes!). However, he did not let that affect his defense, blocking two shots. Grant and Griffin starting at  forward will need some work, as it was a bit clunky at times.
  • Delon Wright – He could be a starter for Detroit as his game is a good complement to Killian Hayes. However, going 0-for-5 and being a minus-15 in the plus/minus is not going to help his cause.
  • Pistons rebounding – Despite starting a lineup in which the shortest player was 6-foot-5, Detroit got crushed on the boards. The Knicks, who have a never-ending line of power forwards to draw upon, outrebounded the Pistons by a 54-41 margin. Considering the size of the team Troy Weaver put together, that should not happen.

Related Story. Can LiAngelo Ball make Detroit Pistons roster?. light

Really not good

  • Detroit turnovers – Coach Casey had warned that after just a week of practice, there could be a lot of turnovers. He was correct. The Pistons finished with 22 turnovers, most of the ugly variety. In his debut, rookie point guard Killian Hayes committed seven of them (although he did make a couple of nifty passes). It must be pointed out the Knicks were even worse, committing 24 turnovers.
  • Pistons shooting – Instead of Motor City, it was more like Brick City. Detroit made just 26 of 80 shots, for a pitiful 32.6% shooting percentage. They only made 25-percent of their three-point attempts and, if you take away Mykhailuk’s 4-for-8, they were 6-for-31 (Yikes!) as a team. We will have to see if this is an outlier, or part of a bad trend.
  • No LiAngelo Ball – Casey played 15 out of the 20 players on the roster. Ball, here on an non-guaranteed contract, was one of those who did not play. It would have been interesting to see him in action and what he can do. Hopefully, he will get some time in Sunday’s rematch with the Knicks.

Final observations

It was great to see the Detroit Pistons play anybody after what might be the longest off-season in professional sports history. It was sort of sad to see the game was in an empty Little Caesars Arena, a reminder of the tough times happening outside of the site.

Next. Rapid reaction: Detroit Pistons 90-84 loss to the New York Knicks. dark

As for how much you can get out of a game after just a week of practice, the answer is, probably not a lot. Rookies looked like rookies (except Bey) and there is no team chemistry yet. It will be interesting how the Pistons look in their rematch with the Knicks on Sunday.

Trivia answer: Hooper