Oct 22, 2013; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons point guard Will Bynum (12) drives past Washington Wizards point guard John Wall (2) during the third quarter at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Pistons won 99-96. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Washington Wizards at Detroit Pistons Preview (Key Match Up, Notes, and Prediction)

The season has finally arrived!

Tonight at 7:30, the Washington Wizards will begin their regular season against the new and improved Detroit Pistons at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Key Match Up:

Most NBA pundits have categorized both the Wizards and Pistons as low-seed NBA playoff teams, but now it’s time for both clubs to go out and perform like teams deserving of spots in the post season. Since both teams don’t have one player to take them to the so-called “promised land”, they’ll have to rely on a collective effort to do so. With Josh Smith, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond all in the starting lineup, the Pistons are undoubtedly one of the biggest teams in the league and they’ll have a significant advantage in their frontcourt virtually every game.

We have yet to see how well all three players will mesh, given the fact that the Pistons will probably lack some spacing and effective perimeter shooting with Smith, Monroe, and Drummond on the floor, but one things for certain- this team will have the size advantage against Washington. Every Wizards player on the court needs to help out the bigs in the rebounding department. Although Marcin Gortat and Nene are more than capable of holding their own, the Pistons’ frontcourt will certainly overwhelm them with athleticism, so Washington will need to rely on a collective effort on the boards. Trevor Ariza has done a pretty good job rebounding the ball in preseason, and the Wizards will need him to carry that over now that the games actually matter, especially if he wants to remain in the starting lineup. If the Wizards get annihilated by Detroit’s frontcourt, I can’t see how they sneak out with a win even though they have a significant advantage in their backcourt.

Notes:

  • Marcin Gortat, who the Wizards acquired in a trade with the Phoenix Suns last week, will make his debut with the team tonight. Although he’s expected to start, Randy Wittman wouldn’t confirm anything after Washington’s practice on Tuesday.
  • Detroit’s new starting point guard, Brandon Jennings, will be out tonight. Rodney Stuckey will also sit out in tonight’s game.
  • The Pistons swept the season series against the Wizards this past season. Washington finished below .500 against teams with a losing record, and that has to change this season if they truly want to make a playoff push.

Prediction:

It’s tough to win on the road, especially for a team that hasn’t had much success over the past several seasons. For the Wizards, tonight would mean much more than just a road win, because this will be the first time we get to see a healthy team right from the get-go. Although the Wizards have had success with John Wall and Bradley Beal together, this will be the first season they’ll get an opportunity to play together the majority of time, which is definitely exciting to say the least.

With that said, a lot will have to go right for the Wizards to pull out their first season victory tonight. Washington is simply outmatched by Detroit’s big men, but if they’re able to contain Monroe and Drummond, they should certainly be able to compete with them. The Wizards have a significant advantage with Wall and Beal, but the other players have to contribute as well. If Josh Smith meshes well with the rest of the team, and the Pistons are able to get some perimeter shooting from their guards, I have no doubt that they’ll be a lock for the playoffs. Much of their shooting will come from Jennings, who’s currently sidelined, Chauncey Billups, and rookie Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, so needless to say, it’ll be a surprise if the Pistons hit on all cylinders.

I think the Wizards will have enough fire power to overcome Detroit’s size tonight. Behind John Wall and Bradley Beal, along with contributions from Nene and Gortat, the Wizards will win their first game of the season tonight, or so I hope.

 

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Wednesday, Oct 2929 Oct7:30at Miami HeatBuy Tickets

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