In first preseason game, Pistons start Andre Drummond, Josh Smith, while Greg Monroe comes off bench


We all know, it’s preseason. It often has all the truth of a politician’s promised on the campaign trail — what happens here and what happens when the season starts can be very different things.

Still, it’s hard to ignore this — Greg Monroe came off the bench for the Pistons in their preseason opener. Andre Drummond and Josh Smith got the starts.

So, Stan Van Gundy, why don’t you tell us how this doesn’t matter (via The Detroit News).

“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.”

I have no doubt that Van Gundy plans over the next few weeks to throw a lot of crazy lineup combinations out there to start seeing what sticks and what doesn’t. Because the only thing we really know, what last season showed us clearly, is that Drummond/Smith/Monroe can’t all play together.

But “random?” Nope. Van Gundy has seen something in practice that sent him to this combination first.

Now it’s Monroe’s turn to tell us how starting is not what’s important to him.

“I don’t have to handle it. I have to play,” Monroe said after the game. “That’s not gonna change, whether I start or come off the bench, how I play. He (Van Gundy) makes the decision. I’m gonna play.”

Monroe is playing on a qualifying offer, refusing to sign the contract extension the Pistons offered this past summer. In that sense, he does just have to play — if he performs well and puts up numbers his stock goes up next season and so do his earnings. Teams and scouts will see his level of play whether he starts or comes off the bench.

For the record, Monroe scored a team-high 22 points with 10 of those coming in the fourth quarter. Smith was 4-of-11 to score nine points plus he had five rebounds against the Bulls.