Tonight marks the end of an era. The final preseason game ever played in the Bradley Center takes place tonight. Let us never forget those final seconds when Joel Anthony hustles up and down those hallowed halls for the final time. Detroit comes to town in their final preseason tune-up before the regular season tips off for both teams next Wednesday.
We’ve bid adieu to a friendly face this week as Milwaukee requested waivers on the slow-footed passing savant, Kendall Marshall. While Marshall’s time here was short, we’ll always have that nine assist game that briefly buttered up Bucks Twitter. Moving forward though, tonight will be the final audition for that much-sought 15th roster spot. One of the Gerald Green, Brandon Rush and Gary Payton II triumvirate will likely emerge victorious, and it’s possible Payton II winds up signing a two-way contract with Milwaukee anyway if he doesn’t snag the spot. Other than that, there’s little excitement to tonight’s tilt.
Player to Watch: Gerald Green
I’m banking on Gerald Green being the one to emerge from the muddy dredges of training camp contracts and finding his way to the regular season bench. If Milwaukee pulls its starters early tonight to give the backups big minutes, I’m fully expecting Gerald Green to go full Rambo and rupture the Pistons’ beleaguered bench. Not that it will necessarily be entertaining, but there’s nothing quite like an old veteran feeling himself in a final preseason game.
Detroit overhauled its roster slightly this summer, jettisoning Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, noted Bucks killer, and trading Marcus Morris to the Celtics to bring back Avery Bradley. They also lost big boy Aron Baynes, the second member of Beno Udrih’s bizarre hairdo club, but otherwise they’re running it back with Reggie Jackson-Andre Drummond pick and rolls hoping for bounce back seasons from the both of them. Unfortunately, Detroit doesn’t have much in the way of talent beyond them, but they sport a few intriguing wings like Tobias Harris and Stanley Johnson whose weaknesses keep them from sporting well-rounded games. They’ll go into the season hoping a weakened East gives Stan Van Gundy’s squad a noticeable bump in the standings after falling to the late lottery last year.
Player to Watch: Luke Kennard
Luke Kennard was the workout warrior of this year’s draft process. People raved about his grit, determination, work ethic, basically all the silly cliches draftniks apply to white prospects. Detroit hopes that high motor is coupled with the sweet shooting stroke he displayed at Duke last year. That hasn’t been the case yet though, as he’s shooting just 28.6% from deep. Detroit has to be hoping that ticks up this year, or Stan Van’s seat might get a tad too hot to handle.