Lawrence Frank’s video study has been broadened as he prepares the Pistons for their 2012-13 season opener. In addition to poring over everything there is to know about the Houston Rockets, he’s been watching TV reports and weather patterns affecting his family and in-laws in storm-battered New Jersey and New York.

Pistons fans come in all shapes, sizes and stripes. For some, the Pistons are a 12-month obsession. For others, here’s a primer to catch you up with the 2012-13 regular season within hours of tipoff.

Who’s New? – The Pistons have five rookies and one trade acquisition amid a full roster of 15 players.

Over four weeks and eight preseason games, Lawrence Frank has evaluated and assessed individual players and different playing combinations and the effectiveness of various schemes and concepts. He might not have all the answers he’d like, or quite enough evidence to make decisions with utter confidence, but that doesn’t much matter. The regular season starts in two days and decisions are due.

Here’s a rear-view look at the last month – what we know, what we think we know, and what we’re left to guess at.

What We Know:

James Harden often carried Oklahoma City’s offense for eight-minute stretches last season. He was good at it, too. Good enough to be the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year. Now he has to carry Houston’s offense for 82 games.

We’ll see.

And nobody will see it sooner than the Pistons. If their season opener needed any added intrigue, it came Saturday night with the out-of-nowhere trade that shipped Harden to Houston – a team the Pistons not only host in Wednesday’s opener, but play again to wrap up a six-game road trip on Nov. 10.

Lawrence Frank doesn’t think about number of wins or making the playoffs, but about the steps necessary to make winning seasons and playoff appearances possible. Yet it’s fair to say that talking about the postseason is irrelevant until the Pistons prove themselves a competitive road team.

Lawrence Frank has maintained all along that the Pistons’ rotation would be more fluid than static. That’s as much the case as it’s ever been, by all available evidence, with the preseason down to its final game.

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