Early schedule will be challenging

The Sports Xchange

--Surviving the first few weeks of the season will be paramount if the Pistons want to achieve their goal of making the playoffs.

The Pistons will play 11 of their first 18 games on the road, including a six-game West Coast trip that begins immediately after their home opener on Halloween night. They'll face teams that made last season's playoffs in a majority of those games.

That early West Coast swing includes games against the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver and Oklahoma City. They also have to make stops in Philadelphia, New York, Memphis and Dallas during the 18-game stretch, while their home games include matchups against Boston and the Thunder.

The home opener will be closely watched because of the opposing point guard. Jeremy Lin, who captured worldwide attention for his scoring outbursts with the Knicks in February, will make his debut as Houston's starting point guard that night.

Detroit buried itself with a 4-20 start last season.

--The Pistons' Development League affiliate is in Fort Wayne, Ind., but their true farm club is located in Storrs, Conn.

Detroit has had at least one University of Connecticut alum on its roster since the 2001-02 season, when it acquired forward Cliff Robinson from Phoenix. The Pistons traded for guard Richard Hamilton, the 1999 Final Four Most Outstanding Player, the following offseason. President of basketball operations Joe Dumars signed two former Huskies, guard Ben Gordon and forward Charlie Villanueva, before the 2009-10 season.

Though Gordon was traded to Charlotte, Villanueva remains on the roster, and the Pistons added another ex-Husky, center Andre Drummond, with their lottery pick.

"I'm a very hard worker. There's nothing wrong with my work ethic. My motor is very high. Now that I'm here as a Piston, all that talk about my motor will be put to rest." -- Rookie center Andre Drummond on the perception that he doesn't play hard all the time

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