Pistons' Monroe not starting in exhibition opener

Vincent Goodwill Jr.
The Detroit News

Auburn Hills — Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy won't commit to a permanent starting lineup just yet, but his first five doesn't include Greg Monroe, he announced hours before the exhibition opener against the Chicago Bulls.

Andre Drummond, Josh Smith, Caron Butler, Jodie Meeks and Brandon Jennings will be the starters for the Pistons on Tuesday night, although Van Gundy has tried to temper the belief he'll bring Monroe off the bench to start the season when Monroe returns from his two-game suspension.

"It'll be different every game in the preseason," Van Gundy said. "Seriously, it was random as much as anything. We knew the 10 we wanted to play today. But it was pretty random."

He'll bring Monroe off the bench with Jonas Jerebko, Kyle Singler, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and D.J. Augustin as the second unit. Van Gundy isn't opposed to using Smith and Monroe on the floor together but has been adamant about using Smith primarily as a power forward, which has been Monroe's position since Drummond ascended to favored status.

Whether it was as simple as picking straws from a hat or any other random method, it gives off a signal that at the very least, he doesn't see Smith as a small forward for anything more than stretches at a time.

A conventional lineup is what Van Gundy is using now, but he asserted he has the flexibility to play different styles. Butler and Meeks were two of Van Gundy's prized additions this offseason.

"Maybe but you know, we could play Jodie and KCP together against smaller teams," Van Gundy said. "There's times we can use Josh at the three. We haven't done that yet. We'll keep tinkering until we get it the way we want it."

"Even when we open the year, it doesn't mean that's where we'll be."