Matchup Preview: Orlando Magic vs Detroit Pistons


Over the next month, we’ll be talking with a variety of people who cover each NBA team to find out a little bit about their team, and how they expect the season to go. We’ll also find out what they believe will be the most intriguing matchup when the two team’s meet during the regular season. We conclude the Central Division with a look at the Detroit Pistons. Joe Dexter of Piston Powered joins us to discuss the Pistons. You can find Joe on twitter @joedexter

Game Dates 

Monday, November 17th @ Detroit 

Tuesday, December 30th @ Orlando 

Wednesday, January 21st @ Detroit 

Friday, March 27th @ Orlando 

Last Season: 29-53; Finished 11th in Eastern Conference 

December 27th: Orlando 109 Detroit 92 

January 28th: Detroit 103 Orlando 87 

February 5th: Orlando 112 Detroit 98 

Projected Starters

Point Guard: Brandon Jennings

Shooting Guard: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Small Forward: Josh Smith 

Power Forward: Greg Monroe

Center: Andre Drummond 

Q: How big of an impact do you see new head coach Stan Van Gundy making on the Pistons this season?

A: Having a coach with actual credentials in Detroit is huge for the franchise. Van Gundy is one of a handful of coaches in the NBA that can mold a mediocre roster into a contender. 

The Pistons have a long way to go to being a respectable team in this league, but there is no doubt that they finally have a coach and general manager that can build them back up to the championship contending team that has been missing the last 8 years.  

Jan 24, 2014; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (5) during the second quarter against the New Orleans Pelicans at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Q: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was dominating at Orlando Summer League. What’s the next step for him in his development, and what do you think we can expect from him this season? 

A: The next step has to be showing that he can be dominating at times in real games. Detroit desperately needs a slasher that can get to the rack and also be able to make the right decisions offensively. If he can keep his turnover percentage down like he did his rookie year, yet find a way to score — he will find the playing time to develop his game.

What he has going for him is his ability to play defense. SVG likes to on the ball defenders and there is no doubt KCP is the best on ball defending guard on the roster for Detroit. 

Q: What’s one matchup you’ll be watching when the Pistons and Magic meet? 

More from Games

A: Victor Oladipo will really let Pistons fans know if Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has made it to the next level. I love defense and this has the potential to be a great back and forth battle. I’m also interested in watching how Elfrid Payton and Brandon Jennings match up. They are two completely opposite players and will probably expose each other’s game. 

Finally, I look forward to watching whoever guards Ben Gordon shut him down. Argh… Ben Gordon..

Q: What kind of expectations do you have for the Pistons this season? Do they take that next step to return to the playoffs?

A: I think it’d be a little ahead of Pistons fans to assume that Detroit is making it to the postseason. It’s insane how the Eastern Conference has flipped into a talented league. Detroit will have to battle Chicago and Cleveland all season long. Can they be better than Indiana in the Central? Washington and Charlotte will be right in the hunt as well. 

Pistons fans though should expect their team to compete night in and night out. What’s most refreshing is that SVG is a no-nonsense coach. Gone are the days where individuals control what happens on the court. 

It’ll be nice to see a form of team basketball back on the hardwood this season.