Pistons president/coach Stan Van Gundy is unafraid to challenge the NBA schedule-makers.
This year, Van Gundy dislikes Detroit’s opening schedule – at the Hawks on Tuesday, vs. the Jazz on Wednesday.
“This league doesn’t give you any time to celebrate,” he said. “You go home and play a very good team, who’s been in Detroit resting, tomorrow night.
“We’re one of the very few teams, I don’t know how many others, who get their home opener on a back to back. We thank the league office for that. You know, they always do take care of us.”
This was before Van Gundy knew the Pistons would start 2-0 – a minor accomplishment that’s a big deal for them – so that probably eased his dismay.
Five teams had their home opener on the second leg of a back-to-back: Pistons, Pacers, Clippers, Knicks and Wizards. In addition to Detroit’s win, the Clippers beat the Mavericks last night. Indiana (to the Grizzlies) and New York (to the Hawks) dropped their home openers last night. The Wizards first play in Washington Saturday after visiting the Bucks on Friday.
Bigger picture: By opening Tuesday rather than Wednesday, as most of the league did, the Pistons fit 82 games into 170 days. Most teams – only Pistons, Hawks, Bulls, Cavaliers, Warriors and Pelicans excepted – must play their 82 games in 169 days.
That’s not a huge difference, but it’s one that benefits Detroit.
Playing the home opener after playing in another city the night before isn’t ideal, but it’s also a minor concern.
Of those small issues, I’d rather have an extra rest day in the middle of the season rather than the first day. All in all, I think the Pistons came out ahead with their opening schedule – and that’s before accounting for their two wins.