The Wizards are coming off their second straight preseason loss, most recently to the New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday, but they’ll have a chance to pick up their second victory against the Detroit Pistons, who they’ll meet in the regular season opener. The game tips off at 7:30 from the Palace of Auburn Hills. It is scheduled to be broadcasted nationally on NBA TV.
Key Match Up:
Without Emeka Okafor, the Wizards have relied on Nene to hold up the center position and they’ve done a decent job rebounding the ball over the course of the preseason. Washington has outrebounded their opponents in every game except their most recent match up against the Pelicans, but the Pistons pose a much bigger challenge with their intimidating front court. With two forwards in Josh Smith and Greg Monroe starting along side Andre Drummond, the Pistons will have the size advantage against virtually every team in the NBA, including the Wizards who don’t have much front court depth.
Washington’s bigs have to do a better job controlling the boards, even though they’ve been respectable throughout preseason. The Wizards don’t have anyone to fill Okafor’s void in the lineup, and the coaching staff has stressed the need for everyone, including the guards, to help crash the boards. Nene will likely be matched up with Andre Drummond, who’s averaged over 13 points and 10 rebounds per game during the preseason. Drummond is a much better athlete than Nene, so everyone definitely needs to help in the rebounding department, or it’s going to be a long night for Washington.
- Detroit’s backcourt of Rodney Stuckey (broken thumb) and Brandon Jennings (wisdom tooth hairline fracture…) are both out.
- The Pistons swept the season series against the Wizards last season, and they’ll meet in the season opener on October 30th. Both teams are trying to snap a playoff drought. The Pistons added both Jennings and Smith this offseason to help propel them into the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
- Detroit was in the bottom 10 of both offensive and defensive efficiency this past season.
Washington has built a reputation of letting lesser opponents start hot right out of the gate, putting themselves in a hole right from the beginning of the game. Unlike some of the prior teams they’ve played in preseason, tonight’s Pistons game will actually have meaning behind it, especially since they’ll meet each other in the season opener. Washington has to see how they match up against the Pistons and other teams with legitimate shots to make the post season in order to gauge their place in the conference.
The Wizards will be drastically outmatched in the post, but their guards could potentially make up for the drastic loss. The Pistons might have an imposing front court, but their guards are relatively unreliable. Without much shooting, the Pistons won’t run a great offense and a lot of the pressure will fall on their back court players to provide offensive relief. Both Brandon Jennings and Rodney Stuckey are out, leaving the Pistons with just Will Bynum, Chauncey Billups, rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Singler to provide guard stability.
John Wall and Bradley Beal will have the complete advantage over the Pistons’ back court, and if they play anything like they’ve played thus far, Washington should be able to sneak out with a victory. Even though the Wizards will be outmatched by Detroit’s big men, Washington’s superior back court should be able to lead them to their second victory of the preseason.