The Detroit Pistons surprised everyone before tip off versus the Toronto Raptors with a lineup change.

With the team currently last in defensive rating it was clear something needed a tweak.

The most glaring hole was Bojan Bogdanovic trying to play power forward. Offensively he was able to find mismatches, but defensively he wasn’t cutting it. “Bogy is not a power forward… it’s not fair for him to be battling 6’10” guys and bangers,” head coach Dwane Casey said.

Bogdanovic tries hard, but the Pistons needed to find better rhythm defensively and offensively. Improved balance between the bench and the starters was also a glaring need as stated by Casey after the game.

The return of Marvin Bagley from injury provided the opportunity for the team to tinker. Coach Casey had already been experimenting with Saddiq Bey playing with the bench more.

With Cade Cunningham still missing in action for a few more games, it was no surprise to see Killian Hayes starting in his place. Marvin Bagley listed with the starters and Saddiq Bey not, was a little more than a tinker.


The Results

This was a big move aimed at improving defensive toughness in the middle, and adding a scoring punch to the bench. The Toronto Raptors provided a worthy test with their length in the front court.

Jaden Ivey’s twenty one points and eight assists were each team highs as the the Detroit Pistons lost to the Raptors 115-111. Nobody likes losing, but there was a lot to like. And though this team is young, I truly believe they want to win every time they step out on the court. In the middle of a rebuild or not.

“I like our big lineup, we got off to a slow start but our defense was solid.” – Pistons Head Coach Dwane Casey

It all looked good until Isaiah Stewart jammed his big toe on a sideline advertisement board. There was no updated available of his status immediately after the game.

Marvin Bagley did well in his starting debut, scoring sixteen points, and snagged five rebounds in just under thirty minutes. Impressively, he made all of his free throws. The team as a whole missed twelve free throws in the four point loss.

Despite not having Stewart and the big lineup for long, the move of Bey coming off the bench provided better offensive fluidity. Bey struggled to score the basketball, but the flow of the offense ran more smooth.

It will only improve once Cade Cunningham is back from injury and team chemistry has a chance to continue growing.

They weren’t without mistakes, though. The Pistons had nineteen turnovers and surrendered twelve second chance opportunities.

The Pistons defense missed Stewart, affectionately known as Beef Stew, and the hope is that his injury is nothing serious. After Saturday night’s loss to the Boston Celtics, coach Casey talked about not letting role players beat you.

Well, the Raptors’ Delano Banton and Chris Boucher didn’t care. Banton scored 27 points on three of seven shooting. Boucher contributed twenty points for the Raptors off the bench.

The loss came down to late game miscues on defense and offense, which is characteristic of a young team. “They executed better down the stretch than we did. It’s a make or miss league. They made theirs shots, we didn’t,” Casey said.

The defense looked to be on the right path with Stewart and Bagley, but it was the offensive potential that got the fans excited. Stewart and Bagley hitting three pointers in the first few minutes of the game showed just how dangerous and effective this move could be.

That is the potential the big line-up provides, and the hope is that it leads to more wins this season.


What’s Next

The Pistons begin a west coast trip that starts with the LA Clippers Thursday, November 17 at 10:30pm.


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Photo Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

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By Published On: November 14th, 2022Categories: Detroit Pistons, NBA

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