Real, live basketball is back.
The Atlanta Hawks host Stan Van Gundy and the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday evening and, well, this one actually counts. These two teams got together in the preseason finale, and while the result was anything but favorable for the Hawks, Atlanta elected not to show anything at all, with virtually the entire core staying at home for the trip.
As such, this contest will likely look nothing like the last one, with the Hawks showcasing their full array of options. Kent Bazemore has been the team's starting small forward (alongside Kyle Korver) for the entirety of the preseason, and with that in mind, he is expected to get the start against Detroit. Other than that insertion, the Hawks will closely resemble last year's group, with the addition of Tiago Splitter to fortify the frontcourt as a notable exception.
The Pistons are expected to make a substantial improvement from 2014-2015, with Van Gundy given another full off-season to implement his program. Andre Drummond is a handful for any opponent on the interior, and it will be interesting to see how Mike Budenholzer and staff elect to defend the monstrous center, with a lean toward increased minutes from Splitter if things get out of hand. Outside of that, the Pistons will run much of their offense through Reggie Jackson at the point guard spot, and the winner of the battle between Jackson and Jeff Teague could have the inside track in this one.
More than anything, it will be nice to see the Hawks back in action at full strength and with no inhibitions, and it should be a raucous atmosphere at Philips Arena for the opener. Stay with us throughout the day and evening for all of the latest, and let's enjoy this one together.
Game Date/Time: Tuesday, October 27, 8:00 p.m. ET
Location: Philips Arena, Atlanta, Georgia
TV: Fox Sports Southeast, NBA League Pass
Radio: 92.9 "The Game" FM