Washington Wizards: Preseason Appetizers vs. Detroit Pistons

Washington Wizards pregame huddle (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards pregame huddle (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images) /

The Washington Wizards preseason began with a loss to the Brooklyn Nets. Here, we take a look at the appetizers served during Sunday’s game and look forward to what’s to come during tonight’s preseason game.

Let’s be real: sometimes appetizers are a bit bland.

Take the house or kale salad. Is it healthy? Sure. But you aren’t left craving more. But other appetizers are exciting and tasty, like wagyu sliders, or briny and salty, like calamari.

Whatever your starter of choice, the Washington Wizards’ preseason opener vs. the Brooklyn Nets whet the appetites of their respective fanbases. If the Nets are more your flavor, you appreciated the savory hors d’oeuvres Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving served up.

However, not to be outdone, the Wizards served up a preseason appetizer selection that was equally appealing. While Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal sat out, the team served up a hearty brew of threes. Deni Avdija and Rui Hachimura sprinkled in three apiece, while Garrison Matthews, Moe Wagner, Troy Brown Jr, and Thomas Bryant all pitched in with two made threes of their own.

And the apps were gritty, too! Wagner’s defense led to four steals, Raul Neto successfully led the offense, and Thomas Bryant dished out five helpers to go along with (surprisingly) steady defense!

When the Wizards were trailing by18, the team used a 34-22 third-quarter run to get within six, which resulted in a brief fourth-quarter lead! The NBA is a game of runs, and this was only an appetizer. After a tough 119-114 loss, we were left craving for more.

Can Avdija supply spacing for Westbrook and Beal? The first preseason appetizer suggests that the answer is “yes.”

Can Hachimura expand his game? Early taste tests point to yes! Never mind the fact that he made three of four attempts, Rui shot the three-ball with confidence in preseason game #1! As a rookie last season, Hachimura averaged a healthy 13.5 points per game; if he can consistently take and knock down more than one three each game, his per-game average should rise to 20 points. One can begin salivating at the thought of Rui’s perimeter game leading to a Big Three in Washington!

We want more threes, sure, but we’ll gladly take more and-one’s as well. Three points are three points.

What the first round of preseason appetizers suggests, our hunger confirms: Wizards fans want more! And we get just that when the Wizards host the Motor City’s Detroit Pistons for the final two games of the preseason. Their first matchup will be December 17, and the teams will meet again to close out the preseason on December 19. While Westbrook and Bertans will be missing from at least the first game, these tasty morsels are on the Wizards’ preseason menu:

Washington Wizards Preseason Menu vs. Detroit Pistons

  1. The Front Court Tussle. This appetizer pairs offensive star power with defense. Admittedly, the defense was neither a strong point during the pre-pandemic portion of the 2019-2020 season nor was it a strength during the seeding games down in the Orlando bubble. Although the team waited until the second half to defend, the results of the second half left us wanting more. Let’s see how the frontcourt responds to Sekou Doumbouya, Jerami Grant, Blake Griffin, and Mason Plumlee. Success against these three will help to assuage concern that the Wizards frontcourt is defensively challenged.
  2. Back-court balance. This appetizer is an equilibrium balanced by flash (Brodie and Beal) and solid (the backups). We know what Beal and Brodie can do, but I want to see if the backup trio can put in a good spell against the Pistons backcourt. As you know, the schedule forces the Wizards to play 7 sets of back-to-backs. With it being reported that Westbrook is “likely” to sit out one of the games during a back-to-back, minutes are available for Raul Neto, Ish Smith, and Cassius Winston. Finding a balance between the guards will be a primary goal for Scott Brooks and his staff.
  3. The Brad. This appetizer is the return of a fan favorite. 282 days have passed since we last saw Brad. Tonight, he makes his return. Scorned from an omission to both the All-Star and All-NBA team, I want to see how aggressive and fluid he looks coming off the rotator cuff injury. If healthy, East Coast Assassin Volume 2.

4 players with something to prove this preseason. dark. Next

We’re just six days away from the main entrée/opening night. Let’s see what the team serves up during the final preseason showings.