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Nets at Pistons Game Preview: IT.IS.BASKETBALL.SEASON!

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Brooklyn Nets v Detroit Pistons Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Welcome back everyone! I know we had previews for the preseason games and content all summer long, but it is officially basketball season, and that is cause for celebration!

By the way, my name is Jason and I’ll be doing the previews all year, it’s going to be a ride. There will be ups. There will be downs. There will be “From The Vault” videos you save in a tab on your browser and forget to delete for three years. There will be jokes only like seven of you will get. I’d love it if one of us cried at some point (probably me). Regardless, follow me on Twitter and say what’s up, we’ll be talking Nets all season long.

Speaking of the Nets, they’re opening this one up in the home of Motown and hoping to take down the Pistons and get themselves off to a 1-0 start. Every team is full of hope at this point in the year, and there’s nothing better than having that hope validated with a win in the very first game of the season.

1-0. It looks so fresh, so clean. Everything is easier when you win that first game, so let’s hope the Nets get it done in Detroit.

Where To Follow The Game

YES will have this one at 7 pm ET Wednesday night and WFAN will finally begin broadcasting on the radio as well. It feels so good having a real Nets game to look forward to all week. I cannot believe how excited I am.

Injuries

DeMarre Carroll spent Tuesday at the Hospital for Special Surgery, undergoing surgery on his right ankle. No word on how long he’ll be out, but he’s certainly out Wednesday.

Allen Crabbe (ankle), Shabazz Napier (hamstring), and Alan Williams (ankle) have been declared out as well. They’re likely to be back soon.

The “good” news? Rondae Hollis-Jefferson may play! After several practices, he’s questionable and a game-time decision. The true glue guy on this roster, Rondae is missed anytime he’s out. It would be great to have him back grabbing boards, guarding four positions, and endearingly clanking threes a couple of times a game. (He’ll get better at shooting eventually! I swear!)

Other than RHJ’s former Arizona teammate, Stanley Johnson, who’s day-to-day with a toe injury, the Pistons are healthy and ready to go.

The Game

Detroit is in that class of Eastern Conference teams that aren’t necessarily “bad,” but are for sure not anyone’s definition of “good.” They’re probably better than teams like the Hornets, Cavaliers, Bulls, and certainly the Knicks, but are worse than a lot of other teams. No one’s excited to watch them play on any given night, but they won’t be embarrassingly incompetent. Okay, maybe the Knicks will be. A couple of them might even grab a playoff spot.

I bring up this group of teams because I think the Nets are ready to move into their territory this season and that’s a good thing. From an on-court standpoint, it’s fun to win 35+ games and be kind of competitive. But the Nets aren’t in cap space hell like most (all?) of those teams mentioned. So, their time in that tier might be short-lived as they move on up in the world.

This is all to say: The Nets can beat the Pistons. If the new coterie of Nets big men can hold off Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin, the backcourt will do enough damage to put them over the edge. That is what happened when these two played in the preseason. It’ll also be fun to watch Kenny Atkinson’s early season rotation take form; expect some significant Levert-Russell time in this one. D’Angelo put up a game-high 25 points against the Pistons in preseason and that doesn’t sound fluky against a guard rotation of Reggie Jackson, Luke Kennard, and Langston Galloway. He could have a big opening game.

Player To Watch

As Nets fans, I’m sure every time we see a dude like Andre Drummond on the schedule it sends shivers down our spines. Big, lumbering centers who like to grab copious amounts of rebounds tend to feast on the Nets, or at least have in recent years. It’s never fun to watch. He’s also an offensive force when the pick-and-roll with Jackson is working. The dude averaged 15 points and a league-leading 16 boards last year.

Jarrett Allen, Kenneth Faried, and Ed Davis are going to have their work cut out for them in this one. Maybe if they do that trench coat thing like Vincent Adultman where they stand on each other’s shoulders they can just grab the rebounds before Drummond has a chance to. We’ll see.

From The Vault

In honor of the Nets starting off the 2018-19 campaign in Detroit, here’s an old Motown record (and vine reference) that really encapsulates how I felt waiting all these months for basketball to come back. As always, enjoy.

Whoo boy, this season is going to be so much fun.