The biggest thing to take away from the Detroit Pistons’ preseason is the fact that we still don’t know what this team is capable of. There are plenty of fresh faces on this squadand some of them have yet to see the court together. Because of this, we still have the same questions going into the regular season that we had going into the preseason.
We know Josh Smith, Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe will all be starting. We know Brandon Jennings is the Pistons’ starting point guard. We know Chauncey Billups will win the starting shooting guard slot by default, at least to start the season. The guard rotation still seems to be shaking itself out even though Kentavious Caldwell-Pope did just about everything he could to play himself out of contention for a rotation spot.
The backup big situation still has plenty of questions as Jonas Jerebko and Charlie Villanueva both failed to play consistently or competently for large stretches. Pair this with Mo Cheeks’ reputation for favoring veterans over rookies, and Tony Mitchell appears to have an uphill battle to get into the rotation despite his impressively efficient outings.
We saw games where Will Bynum and Peyton Siva played nearly the entire game. This is not something we can expect to happen at any point in the regular season. Rodney Stuckey suffered a freak injury and only played in one preseason game. Under the wings of Billups and Cheeks, two guys who admire Stuckey’s abilities, Hot Rod should see plenty of opportunities to play this season. Another injury victim, Luigi Datome, has yet to even see an NBA floor.
Outside of the steady play of Smith, Monroe and Drummond, we really didn’t have an opportunity to get a feel for this Pistons team yet. Injuries plagued Cheeks’ lineups and rotations since game one, and we have yet to see several players in any meaningful capacity.
The only things we really learned were what we already knew. Drummond looks like he will be a monster on the glass. Monroe appears to be the calming, consistent presence in the paint we’ve come to expect over his first three seasons. Josh Smith will add a new dimension to the Pistons’ offense that they haven’t had the privilege of having recently. The rookies each showed their potential while struggling to fully adjust to the NBA game, and the bench players all played like bench players. If there is anything to take away from Detroit’s preseason, it’s that they still have plenty of questions that have yet to be answered for better or for worse.