Detroit Pistons: 10 potential rivalry games to circle on the calendar
January 1, 2024 @ Houston Rockets
What better way to start the new year than to play the team that could eventually become the Detroit Pistons’ biggest rival? Not only are these two rebuilds near the same stage, but you have the Cade Cunnigham vs. Jalen Green angle, and the draft just added fuel to the rivalry by giving each team a Thompson twin. This one should be good for years to come, but both teams will want to establish themselves as the better up-and-coming squad next season.
January 10 vs. San Antonio Spurs
Victor Wembanyama seems like a nice kid, but he’s going to have a big target on his back this season after getting more hype than any player since LeBron. Bigs are going to be eager to push him around and the other guys in his draft class are going to be keen to show that there was more than one potential star in the 2023 NBA Draft. The Pistons and Spurs are also roughly on the same timeline and should be near each other in the standings, so this will be another battle of young cores that could take over the league in the future.
January 12 vs. Houston Rockets
I imagine this game will be even more spirited than the first, as whoever loses that New Year’s Day matchup is going to be out for revenge. One name to watch is Cam Whitmore, who was widely rumored to be Detroit’s choice in the draft before freefalling to the 20th pick. Half the league passed on him, not just the Pistons, but I am sure Whitmore will use it as extra motivation. Both of these teams are loaded with young talent and these will be games to look forward to regardless of their respective records.
January 20 and 22 vs. Milwaukee Bucks
This is two games, but I am going to count it as one long battle in Detroit. The Bucks have been the kings of the Central Division forever and have thoroughly dominated Detroit since Giannis Antetokounmpo joined the league. The Pistons are just 11-27 against the Bucks in that time, but it gets worse. They are just 4-22 in the the last seven years and only 1-13 over the last four, with the last win coming in January of 2022. If the Pistons want to be contenders again, they will have to go through Milwaukee and this will be a chance to get two in a row against them at home.