The Detroit Pistons didn’t get many favors from the NBA schedule maker to open the 2012-13 season. The 2013-14 schedule is a little gentler, but not by that much. Still, coach Maurice Cheeks must be smiling.
The Pistons had to open last season with the Houston Rockets at home then had six straight tough road games against the likes of the Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets before coming home for their eighth game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The result was an 0-8 start, and it just never seemed like the Pistons recovered. They were a young team and showed it early. The final 29-53 record was disappointing and came in large part from that 0-8 start.
This season’s schedule starts out more favorably but still has its challenges. The difference is that the Pistons, with new additions on the team like Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith, are much better and should have a decent start this time.
They open Oct. 30 with the Washington Wizards, then play at the Memphis Grizzlies, but have the next three at home against the Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers and Oklahoma City Thunder. They go out west for four games and the caliber of teams will make it tough for Detroit to enjoy an easy start, but it should be much better than a year ago.
The Pistons play the defending two-time NBA champion Miami Heat at home twice on December 8 and March 28, and are at Miami on December 3 and February 14.
If the Pistons are in the playoff hunt and need to win some games down the stretch to improve their positioning, they’ll face a tough slate to close out the regular season. Five of their last seven games are on the road, with four of those opponents being the Brooklyn Nets, Pacers, Chicago Bulls and Thunder.
With a new coach and new key players, the Pistons have a brighter outlook. A more favorable schedule to open the season won’t hurt either.