New York — Saturday night is the first back-to-back of the season and it’s a good time to let some of you know about some of the background of the NBA schedule for writers.
I know, what you mostly care about are injury updates and the fantasy implications. But things like starting lineups and potential rotations are the info some others crave.
On back-to-backs, there is no morning shootaround and the beat writers don’t get to talk to coaches until the pregame media session — about 90 minutes before tipoff — to get updates on the questionable players or any other issues.
I’m trying to get these columns done after morning shootaround, if possible, but that means if there are other updates, I won’t get them until closer to game time. That just means you’ll have to check on Twitter (@detnewsRodBeard), as I won’t have time to update the column.
Again, I appreciate the positive feedback and links I’ve gotten from many of you.
Good luck tonight.
PISTONS AT KNICKS
Tipoff: 8 Saturday, Madison Square Garden, New York
Probable starters: Reggie Jackson, Avery Bradley, Stanley Johnson, Tobias Harris, Andre Drummond.
Injuries: Reggie Bullock (third game of five-game suspension) is out. Stanley Johnson (lower back tightness) and Dwight Buycks (left hip flexor strain) are questionable.
PISTON FANTASY FOCUS
Andre Drummond: He’s had a subpar first two games, by his standards. The Lopez brothers generally gave him problems, but Drummond can stuff the stats against Kanter, especially with the guards having a decided advantage in the pick-and-roll and dribble-handoff situations. Drummond likely will get back to his typical double-double numbers.
Reggie Jackson: The Knicks will have a thin backcourt with the injuries to Ntilikina and Courtney Lee and Ramon Sessions will have a tough night with Bradley and Jackson. After 21 points in last night’s loss to the Wizards, Jackson looks to have some of his burst and first step back, which could be good news for fantasy players.
Avery Bradley: He’s been in foul trouble in the first two games and hasn’t been able to break out, but tonight looks like the night. Again pairing with Drummond on dribble-handoffs, he’s looked good early in the season and after an off shooting night against Bradley Beal and John Wall, he’ll be licking his chops at the Knicks backcourt.
Probable starters: Ramon Sessions, Courtney Lee, Tim Hardaway Jr., Kristaps Porzingis, Enes Kanter.
Injuries: Joakim Noah (suspension) is out; Frank Ntilikina (sprained left ankle) and Michael Beasley (sprained left ankle) are questionable.
KNICKS FANTASY FOCUS
Kristaps Porzingis: What’s not to like about The Unicorn? He has a versatile inside-outside game and will be a handful for Tobias Harris and Jon Leuer to guard. Porzingis had 31 points in the opener and is their absolute best scoring option.
Tim Hardaway Jr.: This isn’t an easy choice, because he’ll probably be shadowed by the Pistons’ best two perimeter defenders, Avery Bradley and Stanley Johnson. There aren’t a lot of offensive options on the Knicks, so Hardaway will see plenty of shot opportunities, after going 3-of-10 in the opener.
Kyle O’Quinn: Yeah, I struggled to find a third option, but he typically has high-energy games against the Pistons. He’ll get the minutes, too (22 in the opener) and produced six points and 10 rebounds. If the Pistons go to Eric Moreland as the backup center, it’ll be a good chance for O’Quinn to build numbers.