National Basketball Association
Preview
Detroit at Denver
When: 9:00 PM ET, Wednesday, October 29, 2014
Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado

Stan Van Gundy makes his return to the sidelines on Wednesday as the new head coach for the Detroit Pistons, who open a hopeful campaign at Denver. Van Gundy, who owns a .641 winning percentage in eight seasons with Miami and Orlando, was brought in to revive an organization that has endured six straight losing campaigns. Last season's edition went 8-24 down the stretch under interim head coach John Loyer, but Van Gundy's squad has some promise as it builds around star center Andre Drummond.

Drummond ranked second in the NBA with 13.2 rebounds per game while showing marked improvement on the offensive end for the 29-win Pistons, who will need the big man to help boost a defensive unit that allowed 104.7 points, fourth-most in the league. One of the three teams that struggled more defensively was Denver, which failed to make the playoffs for the first time in 11 seasons. The Nuggets are hoping that a healthy roster will yield an improvement after they were one of the more banged-up units in the NBA in 2013-14.

TV: 9 p.m. ET, FSN Detroit, Altitude (Denver)

ABOUT THE PISTONS (2013-14: 29-53): Among the many items on Van Gundy's to-do list is to get more out of swingman Josh Smith, whose overall production took a tumble in his first season with the Pistons. Smith shot a career-low 41.9 percent and was a woeful 26.4 percent from long range, a factor that never deterred him from taking as many 3-pointers as he wanted; Smith's 265 long-distance attempts were a career high. Detroit made the fewest 3s in the Eastern Conference (507) but Van Gundy's teams in the past have often been among the best in the league from the perimeter.

ABOUT THE NUGGETS (2013-14: 36-46): While Denver is aiming to improve itself defensively, its biggest offseason splash came when it reacquired shooting guard Arron Afflalo, the team's second-leading scorer in 2011-12, the final season of his first stint with the Nuggets. Afflalo's scoring averages have improved in each of his seven NBA seasons, reaching 18.2 in a solid effort as Orlando's go-to guy in 2013-14. Afflalo was eighth in the league from 3-point range (42.7 percent), making him a potentially lethal addition for a team that likes to shoot early and often but finished in the middle of the pack from beyond the arc in terms of accuracy (35.8 percent).


BUZZER BEATERS

1. Nuggets PG Ty Lawson, who suffered a broken rib in his only meeting with Detroit last season, is on track for the opener despite dealing with a hamstring issue that limited him to four preseason games.

2. The Pistons led the NBA in offensive rebounds per game (14.6) in 2013-14 while the Nuggets were fourth (12.3).

3. Denver was 16-16 against Eastern Conference opponents last season.

PREDICTION: Nuggets 105, Pistons 98
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away Day Night Div Conf
Detroit 0-0 W2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0
Denver 0-0 L2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0
Last Meeting
Detroit Denver
Date Away Home Pts Reb FG% Pts Reb FG%
3/19/14 DET 109 DEN 118 109 43 45.3 118 46 51.2
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Detroit G. Monroe 22 75.0 4
Denver A. Brooks 27 52.6 6
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Detroit K. Caldwell-Pope 10 3 7
Denver J. Hickson 11 2 9
Assists Player  
Detroit W. Bynum 10
Denver A. Brooks 17
Season
Points Player Total FG% FTM
Detroit N/A
Denver N/A
Rebounds Player Total Off Def
Detroit N/A
Denver N/A
Assists Player  
Detroit N/A
Denver N/A
Quickchart Matchup
Detroit Off vs  Denver Defense
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Denver Off vs  Detroit Defense
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0.0 FG%
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