Detroit Pistons: Roster locks and bubble boys

Detroit Pistons Derrick Rose. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images)
Detroit Pistons Derrick Rose. (Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images) /
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Entering the third game of the NBA preseason, the pecking order of the Detroit Pistons roster is starting to take shape. Here is a look at the players who are locks to make the team, and the ones who are on the bubble.

Despite the pandemic, the NBA is the only major pro sports league that has not expanded its roster. That means, just like last year, the Detroit Pistons will only be able to put 15 players on its roster It can have an additional two players on two-way contracts. They can split time between the NBA and the G-League.

The NBA also is different than other pro leagues in that they have no injured reserved list. There can not be a sudden ‘sprained ankle’ so a young prospect can be stashed away.

Aggravating the roster problem this season is the status of the NBA’s minor league, the G-League. When it will start, where and who will have teams, are still open questions.

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The delay in the G-League start means that when the Pistons cut a player, he will, at the moment, have nowhere else to play. This already leaves players who were recently cut, like Anthony Lamb and LiAngelo Ball in a sort of limbo.

Ball and Lamb each signed an Exhibit 10 contract. That means they can each make up to $50,000 if they play for the Pistons G-League team. Problem is, right now, there is no team for them to play on.

This means deciding who makes the Pistons roster comes under even more scrutiny. Because, if you do not make the NBA team, players are pretty much sitting at home, maybe, (depending on what state they live in) working out on their own.

Obviously, not all of Detroit’s players are worrying about whether they will get a roster spot. Many are locks to be with the team on opening night. However, there are a few who are ‘bubble boys’, their hold on being part of the team is a bit fragile.

Of course, other NBA teams will be cutting players from their roster as well. Just because a player is among the 17 players currently on the roster, does not mean he is safe.

Detroit general manager Troy Weaver might like a player who was jettisoned by another team. Weaver could also swing a trade before the opener; it is not like he is shy about pulling the trigger on a deal.

This breakdown is not based on the players ability, or who will still be there at the end of the season. Trades can always occur until the March deadline.

With two games at Washington to wrap the preseason coming up, here is a breakdown of the Pistons players who are ‘locks’ to make the opening day team, and the ‘bubble boys’,  whom it would behoove to play really well against the Wizards.