Detroit Pistons - Denver Nuggets Opening Night Preview
AP Photo

The Detroit Pistons are coming off a terrible year which saw them finish 11th in the Eastern Conference standings. After firing Head Coach Maurice Cheeks, they hired well-regarded and former Orlando Magic Head Coach Stan Van Gundy. The Detroit Pistons made minor additions this offseason in the form of Jodie Meeks, D.J. Augustin, Caron Butler, Cartier Martin, and they drafted former Colorado Buffalo point guard Spencer Dinwiddie with the 38th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft.

In the offseason they lost veterans, Charlie Villanueva, Rodney Stuckey, and Chauncey Billups. On the upside, the Pistons have blossoming youngsters and a member of the 2014 USA team that won gold at FIBA in Spain, Andre Drummond. They also have a solid power forward and center in Greg Monroe to help solidify the frontcourt.

Last year when Josh Smith, Andre Drummond, and Greg Monroe were on the floor together, the Pistons outscored their opponents by 36 points. The Pistons also have veteran point guard Brandon Jennings to help keep the ball moving. They have one of the top young shooting guards in the league in Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

The main problems for the Detroit Pistons rely in their bench, where they are overall very weak. They have unproven talent in Spencer Dinwiddie, veterans in Cartier Martin, Joel Anthony, Caron Butler, Jonas Jerebko, and Luigi Datome. They are also backlogged at the power forward position with Josh Smith, Jonas Jerebko, Greg Monroe, and Tony Mitchell all taking up that position. The Pistons also have injured shooting guard Jodie Meeks. 

The Pistons will try to build off the 5-2 preseason and have a good year, making the playoffs for the first time since the 2009. Stan Van Gundy will win NBA Coach of the Year bringing the Pistons to the playoffs.

The Denver Nuggets finished last season 11th in the Western Conference standings. In the offseason, they lost Evan Fournier, Anthony Randolph, Jan Vesely, and Aaron Brooks. They took Jusuf Nurkic from Mega Vizura in Serbia in the first-round and Gary Harris from Michigan State. Their original first-round draft pick was Doug McDermott from Creighton, but they traded him to Chicago Bulls for Nurkic and Harris.

They signed Arron Afflalo and Erick Green. Key players Danilo Galinari, Nate Robinson, JaVale McGee, and J.J. Hickson are coming back from injuries. The Nuggets have a good big man in Kenneth Faried, who will help them in the paint and get rebounds. This is Brian Shaw’s second season at the helm, which makes him and the team more comfortable with his plays.

The Nuggets are aiming to have a bounce back year this season, and they should be able to bounce back. They are also looking to bounce back from a 2-6 preseason, which saw them losing to good teams that they will have to learn how to beat if they want to succeed in the Western Conference in the Suns, Blazers, and Warriors.

The Nuggets play a trapping zone defense, which is known to give up to corners threes to the opponents. This gives shooters like Kyle Singler opportunities to make a difference in this game. Kyle Singler will use this opportunity, but it won’t be enough even with Drummond’s big night. In this game Andre Drummond will make a big impact for the Pistons tonight, potentially scoring 10 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, and dishing two assists, to get a double- double.

Meanwhile, the Nuggets will get help from Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried, possibly combining for 25 points, 10 rebounds, and seven assists. The “Manimal”, Faried will be the leading scorer with 15 points. The final score will be 110-95, with the Nuggets improving to 1-0 on the season and the Pistons dropping to 0-1.