What better way to spend your Friday night than to watch two teams with a combined 5-19 record go at it in Detroit?!
Start time: 7:30 PM ET
Probable starting lineups
Toronto: Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Dominic McGuire, Andrea Bargnani, Jonas Valanciunas
Detroit: Brandon Knight, Kyle Singler, Tayshaun Prince, Jason Maxiell, Greg Monroe
Toronto: Landry Fields and Alan Anderson remain out of the lineup.
Detroit: The Pistons aren’t dealing with any injuries right now.
- The Pistons have been a confusing 2-10 team so far this season, losing to Sacramento, losing twice to Houston and twice to Orlando, with their two wins coming against the Celtics and 76ers. In other words, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Raptors blew Detroit out of the water tonight to pick up a fourth win, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the better version of the Pistons show up and send the Raptors to a depressing 10th loss.
- Anyone who read RaptorBlog leading up the Draft or even leading up to the season will know that I was never fond of Andre Drummond, as the way I saw it (and still see it), a guy with a reputation for an inconsistent effort and lack of focus isn’t suddenly going to develop those mental aspects at the NBA level. While I still believe Drummond will frustrate the Pistons down the road, I can’t take anything away from the start he’s gotten off to. The big man has been one of the most surprising rookies thus far, averaging over six points, four rebounds and a block per game in less than 16 minutes per night. He also boasts an impressive PER of 22.3 and hasn’t gotten into the foul trouble many believed he would. I’m nowhere near ready to be a believer just yet, but the initial results from Drummond have been good.
- While Drummond provides some hope for the future and Greg Monroe provides some optimism in the present, the rest of this Pistons roster has been a disappointment, especially Brandon Knight, who’s averaging just 10.6 points on a nasty 37 per cent shooting to go along with 6.4 assists and a well below average PER of 10.41. Add Knight’s disappointing play to a 2-10 record and a confusing cast of veterans without a purpose, and you can see why Detroit is near the bottom of league attendance with an average of just 13,309 fans.
- As we’re all well aware, the Raptors have been barely better than the Pistons so far this season, and there’s no doubt the Pistons are looking at Toronto as a winnable game the same way the Raptors are looking at Detroit. On our latest episode of RaptorBlog Radio, I mentioned that while I hoped for a 2-2 or even 3-1 week, a 1-3 record this week was the likely scenario. Given that a matchup with the Spurs on Sunday should be an obvious loss, a win tonight would make this week a pretty predictable one, yet an all too depressing one at that.
- If there’s a positive to look for though, it’s the recent play of rookies Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross (as well as the overall play of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan), and by the sounds of it, fans will get what they’ve been asking for, as the rooks seem poised for an increase in minutes. I’m guessing I’m not the only one intrigued by a potential Valanciunas/Drummond matchup tonight.
- The Pistons took two of three in this series last season, including both games in Detroit.
- After this game, the Raptors’ upcoming schedule includes a game against the Spurs, games at Houston and Memphis and the always crushing five-game Western road trip, with only tonight’s game in Detroit and a home date versus the Suns as truly “winnable” contests in a 10-game stretch. If the Raps can’t take care of the Pistons, they could very well find themselves with something along the lines of a 4-18 record by the middle of December. Perhaps a road win could be enough to boost this team to a couple of unexpected victories in that stretch?
- Lastly, there won’t be a ‘Thoughts On the Game” post tonight, as we’ll all be out toasting “The BlogFather.” We’ll catch up again some time this weekend.