For the Detroit Pistons to compete this season, they will need their full complement of players, starting with Cade Cunningham.
This team needs Cunningham to not only stay healthy but to take a star turn in year three, as he is currently the centerpiece of their rebuild and has to show he’s the player for it.
The talent is tantalizing but matters little if he can’t stay on the floor and concerns have already been raised by an early “minor” injury.
The Pistons have already lost Isaiah Livers for 4-6 more weeks and both Bojan Bogdanovic and Monte Morris have yet to step on the floor. Jalen Duren has missed a game and a half with an ankle injury, so Detroit’s quest to stay healthy has already taken a hit.
Tonight they will take on the Oklahoma City Thunder again, and there are still questions about who will be on the floor.
Will Bojan Bogdanovic and Monte Morris play vs. the Thunder?
It doesn’t sound like it.
According to Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press, coach Monty Williams does not expect the veterans to suit up in either of the final two preseason games.
I’m sure these two will be fine without the preseason reps, it’s their young teammates I worry about, as Cade Cunningham hasn’t really played with either of these guys and will now be learning their games on the fly in the regular season.
Is Jalen Duren playing tonight?
Jalen Duren is still listed as day-to-day though he has been a full participant in practice. Given that the Pistons’ final two games are a back-to-back, it’s likely he’ll play in one but not the other so that he is 100 percent to start the regular season.
I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the Pistons hold him out altogether, so you’ll have to wait to closer to game time for that call.
Is Cade Cunningham playing tonight vs. Thunder?
Cade Cunningham is in the same boat as Duren. He has been a full participant in practice this week, but it is doubtful we’ll see him in a back-to-back in preseason. I expect Cade will be back tonight and will then sit out the final preseason game in Dallas on Friday. He too is a game time decision, so we won’t know until Monty Williams fills out his lineup card.
We’ve been told ad nauseam that preseason doesn’t matter, but I tend to disagree when you are talking about a 17-win team with young players who have yet to prove they can consistently stay on the floor. Preseason or not, injuries still count, so it should be concerning that so many Pistons are already banged up and we’ve not even played a real game.