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Game Preview: Pre-Knicks @ Pre-Pistons, 12/11/2020

Friday. Night. Knicks.

New York Knicks v Detroit Pistons

Would ya look at this: the Knickerbockers are playing basketball today! I can’t believe this is where we are, but I’m eagerly anticipating the studio cheese of Robert Randolph’s boomp-clap anthem. I even want the muted theatrics of Bill Pidto’s xanafied John Moschitta Jr. impression. I guess it’s a safe bet that the pandy has driven me in-god-damn-sane.

It’s been several eternals since the gang got together but tonight they’ll dust the chandeliers and shake off some jitters against the Detroit Pistons. Wild! How long before someone gets COVID and it shuts down a team? A league? Are there any teams in South Dakota?

I hope your scimitar has been dripping with the blood of the lamb for the past 10 months because the Knicks need the power of sacrifice if they intend to do anything close to winning this year. Luckily their very first opponent is ripe for receiving the same criticism the Knicks got last year. Power forward after power forward after power forward after power forward.

Projected Starters

Whatever happens here, Coach Thibodeau has made it clear that the lineup fluctuation starts now and will proceed into the regular season. As such, it seems likely he’ll toss out the most trusted players at their respective positions to start. Thibs even said himself that the rotations are going to change and different groups will get run together for all of pre-season and (unless someone establishes themselves as the bonafide top dog) the first run of games in the regular season.

Without the benefit of seeing anyone’s pandemic progress translating to on-court results, I’m assuming the depth chart is probably something like this:

Elfrid Payton / Dennis Smith Jr. / Frank Ntilikina / Immanuel Quickley / Myles Powell

Alec Burks / Austin Rivers / Frank Ntilikina / Reggie Bullock / Immanuel Quickley

RJ Barrett / Reggie Bullock / Frank Ntilikina / Kevin Knox / Ignas Brazdeikis

Julius Randle / Obi Toppin / Kevin Knox / Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

Mitchell Robinson / Nerlens Noel / Omari Spellman

That isn’t meant to reflect anything other than a hunch, but I would just like you to note, that if I have someone slotted in at more positions, that denotes more minutes in my mind. So before you say it’s crazy that I think Frank is the third guard, I would say, yes, but he might get the second most guard minutes and could be out there in multiple three guard sets. In any case, I don’t want us to forget Theo Pinson and Jared Harper cus they’re there too. Tonight Austin Rivers will most likely be sitting with a groin injury.

On the other side, the Pistons will probably be running out a jumbo lineup that looks something like this:

Killian Hayes, 6’5”

Delon Wright, 6’5”

Jerami Grant, 6’9”

Blake Griffin, 6’9”

Miles Plumlee, 6’11”

Detroit has let it be known that they’re handing the keys to their rookie point guard and Derrick Rose will lead the second unit along with familiar face, Wayne Ellington and a couple more rookies. Rochester’s own, via Washington, Isaiah Stewart, and Villanova prospect, Saddiq Bey. Both of whom seem ready to contribute in supporting roles.

Keys & Predictions

I legitimately do not remember the last time a Knick opponent did the work of shrinking the floor for them. Usually it’s the Knicks who put out three power forwards and five non-shooters. New York remains the Knicks of course and they’re liable to put 4.5 non shooters on the court for most of every game, so this game could be all the way up in the air.

The key might be how ready Killian Hayes is to handle the NBA. My sources say he’ll do really well against Elfrid Payton and struggle against Frank Ntilikina.

Knicks by 1.

Warm Up Music

Don’t take the bus. Don’t take the train. Stay home. You don’t have to get there, you’re there already.