In the first NBA action at Little Caesars Arena since March, the Detroit Pistons dropped its preseason opener Friday night to the New York Knicks.
To paraphrase the great French Montana, the Detroit Pistons are just getting started, so don’t panic.
I mean, that’s what fans do. Right?
So when the Pistons dropped its first preseason game to the lowly New York Knicks, that’s to be expected.
After all, it is the freaking Knicks.
In the first action at Little Caesars Arena since March, the Pistons lost 90-84, in a game where the team showcased a lot of promise. At the same time, they have a lot of things that need some work.
The Pistons’ hustle looked great throughout the evening.
Several things were evident last night in the Pistons’ loss to the Knicks.
Firstly, even though it’s only one preseason game, Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin appeared to be in excellent shape and conditioning. Along with that, they seemed to be very vocal on the court. And they both excelled in getting teammates in position on both sides of the ball, especially Griffin. His role as a facilitator of the offense was noticeable.
Pistons head coach Dwane Casey heralded both players’ leadership efforts during training camp, and it was on full display.
Secondly, the newest Detroit Piston, Jahlil Okafor, looked to be in phenomenal shape. To keep this honest, Knicks’ rookie Obi Toppin caught him slipping a few times, especially on that incredible slam to end the first quarter. Okafor redeemed himself to start the second quarter, grabbing a few quick baskets and being active on the glass and in the post.
Lastly, there’s Svi Mykhailiuk.
Mykhailiuk showcased last night that Luke Kennard was indeed expendable.
He let it rip throughout the evening, shooting 50% (4-8) from beyond the arc. Again, it’s only one preseason game. However, Mykhailiuk is indeed one of the best shooters on the Pistons’ roster and has the opportunity to become one of the best league’s best snipers. Fans should keep an eye on his play over the next three preseason games.
There’s a little more good to spread around about these Detroit Pistons.
If fans only look at the box score, Pistons’ rookie Saddiq Bey did not have a great shooting night. He shot 4-12 and an abysmal 3-9 from long-distance.
And even with that performance, fans should be happy. Bey looked to score each time he got the ball. It has been a while since the Pistons’ had a forward with his frame, who can also be a potential scoring threat.
Killian Hayes looked “aiight” in his showing.
Knicks rookie Obi Toppin giving the Pistons the business to start last night’s game did not help the Killian Hayes fan club. Especially Hayes’ performance last night.
Shooting 2-7 from the field was not a good look, and the seven turnovers were even worse. He looked like a player who had some nerves he had to get under control. And at times, it did look like the speed of the game was an issue for him early on.
Even still, he did not look bad at all.
There were flashes of his playmaking ability, notably in the second quarter when he drove to the basket, then kicked it out to an open Wayne Ellington for a score. Along with that, Hayes appeared to be a lot quicker and more elusive in his first game as a Piston than the previous tape on him.
We cannot leave out the ugly.
Jerami Grant did not do himself any favor last night.
It’s just that simple.
The newest Detroit Piston had an awful first night, shooting 1-11 and 0-5 from beyond the arc. He was a -11 when on the floor. Outside of a couple of blocks, Grant did not provide much for the Pistons last night. Hopefully, for his sake, he’ll have a better showing on Sunday when they face the Knicks again.
Grant was the Pistons’ big free-agent “splash” this past offseason, signing a three-year, $60 million deal. The move garnered a mixed reaction with Pistons’ fans. For Grant to buy himself some equity, he’ll need a dominant performance (or two) in the next several preseason games. Otherwise, the impatient Pistons’ fans could sour on him quickly.