Takeaway #2: The defense is still bad
The Washington Wizards finished the 2019-20 season with one of the NBA’s worst defenses. But there was reason to believe they could be better entering the 2020-21 season. After the trade deadline, they put up a top-half defense.
However, we haven’t seen much proof that this team will be any better at defense than last season’s squad. After falling to a 68-50 deficit at halftime in their first preseason game, the Wizards found themselves in a 58-35 hole at the break vs. Detroit.
Yes, the Wizards were missing big-time starters, but the Wizards that were on the floor vs. Detroit will still need to play defense during the regular season. The return of the starters won’t let them off the hook entirely. And it won’t solve slow switches and poor communication. The Pistons aren’t exactly an offensive juggernaut, either. Last season, they ranked 25th in points per game. Plus, they’re now without three of their top scorers from last season (Andre Drummond, Luke Kennard, Christian Wood).
But, hey, at least Thomas Bryant had four blocks. Right?