Nothing has been consistent with the Detroit Pistons in the past ten years except for mediocrity. Dwane Casey will be Detroit’s sixth head coach since 2008. After trading Chauncey Billups at the beginning of the 2008-2009 season, their quote-unquote “best players” have been a washed-up Allen Iverson, “I’m still getting my shots” slightly over-the-hill Richard Hamilton, “We just got paid!” Charlie Villanueva and Ben Gordon, Greg Monroe, Brandon Knight, Rodney Stuckey, “I have had multiple knee surgeries” Tracy McGrady, Josh freaking Smith, and most recently Andre Drummond, Reggie Jackson, Tobias Harris, and Blake Griffin. Whew. The late 2000’s and early 2010’s were some dark times. At least in the past few seasons, they have been better than that. Sure, the Pistons have been a fringe-playoff team at best for the last three seasons, but that is unbelievably better than that awful 2009 to 2015 stretch.
The roster, minus Drummond, Jackson and Stanley Johnson, has completely turned over in the last three seasons alone. So, who starts for the Pistons this season? And who gets the backup roles? How will the minutes be distributed per game? Here’s my take on how the rotation will look to begin the season.
Point Guard– Starter: Reggie Jackson (30 minutes). Backup: Ish Smith (18 minutes)
Nothing too shocking here. We know Reggie gets winded if he plays big minutes. I don’t think Langston Galloway receives more than spot-minutes at the one on an inconsistent basis.
Shooting Guard– Starter: Reggie Bullock (15 minutes). Backups: Luke Kennard (25 minutes), Langston Galloway (8 minutes)
Luke gets the lion-share of minutes at the two and hopefully thrives running the second unit. I would love to see him take all of the Galloway minutes at some point this season. Bullock slides over to the three for portions of the game.
Small Forward– Starter: Stanley Johnson (13 minutes). Backups: Glenn Robinson III (25 minutes), Reggie Bullock (10 minutes)
I think Stanley will begin the season as the starting small forward. I wouldn’t be surprised if GRIII wins the starting role at some point.
Power Forward– Starter: Blake Griffin (25 minutes). Backups: Jon Leuer (10 minutes), Stanley Johnson (13 minutes)
I sure hope Henry Ellenson doesn’t play. Hopefully Stanley gets decent run here against smaller lineups. If Leuer isn’t healthy to begin the season, please, Dwane, just give these minutes to Johnson and move the other small forward minutes to Bullock, Robinson, and possibly Kennard.
Center– Starter: Andre Drummond (36 minutes). Backups: Blake Griffin (8 minutes), Zaza Pachulia (4 minutes)
Okay, maybe it’s wishful thinking that Zaza doesn’t really play. Ideally, Leuer is healthy this season and doesn’t play like crap. That way Zaza never has to play at all with Leuer taking these minutes from him at the five.
I think the rookies will get some looks and move into a rotational role in the event of an injury to a wing. But I doubt they get playing time unless they earn it at this point. I don’t know if this is how things will play out. It largely depends on health, how well everyone plays in training camp, and coach Casey’s preferences. What do you guys think?