For two years in a row, the Detroit Pistons' opening opponent have pulled off a trade just before their game. Of course, last year the Houston Rockets added a guy named James Harden, while the Washington Wizards only added Marcin Gortat, a solid but unspectacular center. The Pistons were at home, playing a team likely to compete with them for a playoff spot. Could they earn the opening win?
Indeed they could, as the Pistons beat the Wizards by a score of 113-102. The Pistons scoring 113 points in a game!? What a world we now live in. Plus, they didn't have Brandon Jennings at point guard, leaving them shorthanded. Still, they got the victory, a nice beginning for the Mo Cheeks era.
The Wizards had the lead scorer of the game, as Trevor Ariza scored 28 points, adding 10 rebounds. John Wall had a good game as well, with 20 points and 11 assists. Ariza got a bit lucky, as he went 6-for-11 on three-pointers, but the Pistons won, so it's all good.
For Detroit, Greg Monroe led the way. You remember Monroe, right? Used to be the best player on this team? The focal point? He was loss in the shuffle this offseason. The Pistons added Josh Smith with a big contract. They trade for Jennings. They brought back Chauncey. Andre Drummond makes everybody so very, very excited. Also, Monroe struggled a bit shooting last year, but that could have been a fluke. In this game, Monroe scored 24 points and pulled down 16 rebounds. He went 6-for-15 from the field, but he went 12-for-15 on free throws, which is good.
The Pistons went with a short rotation, as they basically played seven guys. Will Bynum got the start with Jennings out, scoring 19 points and having five assists. Mr. Big Shot looked good in his return to the Motor City. Billups scored 16 points thanks to going 4-for-5 from beyond the arc. He added five assists too.
You know who also had five assists? J Smoove himself. Smith scored 19 points with five rebounds, five dimes, and a block. It was a good debut, but there is one thing that concerns me. He went 3-for-7 on three-pointers. The main takeaway here: Smith shot SEVEN threes. He is not a good shooter from distance. If this continues, I am wary. Rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored nine points on 4-for-12 shooting. Welcome to the NBA, KCP.
The Pistons won, and that is great. This is an intriguing season for them. The playoffs are a possibility. I mean, the projection systems love Detroit. They've got them pretty much a lock for the most part. I've seem a couple that have them finishing fifth in the East. That would be amazing, even if they would pretty much be guaranteed to be a first round exit still. I am particularly paying attention to these early, Jennings-free games. If they can win a couple before he returns, that is a bonus in some ways. So far, so good.
Detroit is 1-0. Go Pistons. Oh, and your hero and mine Andre Drummond had 12 points and eight rebounds in 26 minutes. He didn't eat any planets tonight. Be patient. His day will come.