After the Pistons lost starting point defender Delon Wright from groin tension and the Knicks lost Elfried Peyton to hamstring tension, the Motown PG race on Sunday was set.
Derrick Rose vs. Dennis Smith Jr. at Little Caesar Arena in Detroit.
Rose and Smith were replaced three weeks ago, and that was great for the Knicks.
Rose, in her second straight game since Payton fell, went for 17 points, 11 assists and five steals in Saturday’s big win over the Pacers to move them to .500 (17-17).
It was also enlightening for the Pistons, as Detroit sought to revive Smith’s exiled Knicks. Pistons coach Dwayne Casey made Smith the starting guard four games ago and he found his modjo.
During that period, Smith averaged 1
“The truth is, you never want to feel too comfortable because you’re ultimately smug,” Smith said on the eve of the Knicks. “But you can definitely tell when the feeling of the game starts to come back, especially from the situation I came from. I feel how I feel when I come back for myself. “
Smith, once a key player in the Kristaps Porzingis trade, played only three early games for the Knicks – two at the time. He then injured his carriage and never returned to the court before the trade. Eventually, he asked to receive replays at G League training camp for Westchester.
That was in the Atlanta G League balloon, where Smith learned in the Super Bowl Sunday that he was moving to Detroit. After the trade, Smith told a Zoom press conference that he was “smiling all day.”
Three weeks later, Smith is still smiling.
“Much better,” Smith said when asked how his conditioning now compares to trading day. “Call the coaches and everyone on the staff. They always strive to work. After each game we get post-match training – which is new to me. They take time away from their night. So I appreciate it.
“I think I just came in and stayed myself in terms of my presence,” added the 23-year-old former North Carolina security guard. “I came in and it was me. I feel like I really like everyone here. I feel he is paid. I just keep being a building block for this team and try to lead as much as I can. “
The Pistons have the worst NBA record in the East from 9 to 24 – they are still smart from losing their lottery driver, defender Killian Hayes, to a major hip injury. Hayes may return before the end of the season.
On Friday against Sacramento, Smith threw a monstrous drive into traffic – something outside of his college. When he was told he hadn’t scored a game in a year, Smith already knew.
“It’s crazy to think it’s been a year,” Smith said. “The last one was in Charlotte, because it appeared in my memories on Facebook. It was an energizer for the team. “
Knicks, meanwhile, is also smiling at the Rose-Smith transaction.
Rose, who wanted Detroit to play coach Tom Thibodeau again, is almost everything advertised in nine games. He was a leader on the floor and played better in defense than in his first period at Knicks. He averages 13.5 points and 4.5 assists.
After playing in Detroit for only two seasons. he tries not to become sentimental.
“There’s no thought,” Rose said of her return. “I felt their feelings when I returned to Chicago. This kind of helped me get into thinking when I realized it was a business and I realized you couldn’t play in a way that would hurt the team.
“It’s my first time. I’m not talking about it unless someone picks it up. I try to put that behind, I just work on my craft, I try to teach the boys every day, and I try to put my mark on the team when I can, but I can’t look back. “