Tonight the Washington Wizards come to town to play the Pistons at 7:30pm est. The Wizards are 5-4 on the year. And the Pistons are on the second night of a back to back while the Wizards should be CRAY rested having not played since Tuesday.
The Them: The Wizards are a very different team from the Pistons, however it would appear that they will likely end up being pretty similarly good. John Wall is a legit two way destroyer of worlds who creates shots for his teammates with stupendous effectiveness. He is also very capable at scoring inside, but is not a very good shooter. And even for him he is struggling with his shot. (27.5% from 3) Bradley Beal can flat out score, and shoot. He still is not overly effective as a ball handler/creator (2.7 assists and 3.5 turnovers) and is not a particularly good defender, but make no mistake. Beal is really good. HOWEVA, I just And those two are the strength of their team. Otto Porter is doing his defense and can get some buckets inside. The Polish hammer is still holding down the middle, and Khris Humphries. Wait for it. Shooting 46% on 3 3pointers per game(!!!!!!) which is crazy. He also still does all of his normal stuff that is somewhat helpful. They also have a few solid guys on the bench between Nene, Jared Dudley, Gary Neal, and Ramon Sessions as the main guys off the bench. Also, if any of these guys are actually injured, then say so in the comments. When trying to find an injury report I only found a bunch from like 2 years ago. Basically this team has a good inside outside balance. John Wall is awesome, Bradley Beal is really good, Otto Porter is the swiss army knife type, and then the rest of their regular rotation is pretty solid. Once again, even though the rosters are quite different, they have the same makeup overall. Two killer players, and several other "pretty good ones." They are likely still that one piece away from true contention. (Kevin Durant is who they are hoping for obviously.) Overall this team is pretty good on both ends, they have an almost even offensive and defensive efficiency. (Off: 101.9 Def: 102.7)
Matchups to watch:
Reggie Jackson vs. John Wall: John Wall took a bit of a shot at Reggie this past offseason by saying how crazy it was that Reggie made as much money as Wall. While I'm not sure how much it was actually intended as a knock on Jackson, it clearly insinuates that Wall believes he is a lot better. As such both players will probably be giving it a little bit extra. Even without that though this should be a pretty fun matchup. 2 young, super athletic guards who are not very good shooters. And both play 2 ways. It will be important for Jackson to keep up his ways of making good decisions because Wall will probably be all over him tonight. So if Jackson is not on his game Wall will probably eat him up. As it is, I think both will be on their games. I would expect a big game from both of them. But the bigger pressure is on Wall. Because if Jackson can manage to play wall even then the Pistons have an advantage. Because Wall does not have Andre Drummond to back him up.
KCP vs. Beal: Bradley Beal is (I think) a little hurt but is expected to play. KCP has been killer so far on defense this year, but it is still early, and he has gotten a little bit more leaky the past few games. (Which is more so a testament to how good he has been than it is him starting to struggle. Just not as clearly dominant.) One of the reasons for some struggles is that he had a couple hard matchups of guys who were bigger than him. Beal is (listed) as just about the same size as KCP, and Beal is not a guy who can really post up much anyways. As such, I would hope that KCP can hold Beal to a bad night, but if Beal has a really good game then KCP does not really get to blame a size disadvantage or anything else of the like. If KCP is really going to be the perimeter stopper he has looked like then this is a matchup he needs to own. Also, Beal is not a great defender so KCP should get at least a couple chances to score a little bit. Jackson should be able to play at least close to even with Wall, and if KCP can manage to do the same for Beal, then the Pistons should be able to win the game, because the Wizards almost certainly have no good option for Drummond. But if Beal is to much for KCP, and KCP can't manage to get anything back with his own scoring. Then the Wizards will have a big upper hand.
Andre Drummond vs. Everyone: The Wizards have got 3 big bodies (Gortat, Nene, Humphries) to throw at Drummond, and Gortat is a real player. But none of them figure to have a great chance to keep Drummond from doing his thing. It will be another night where Drummond will have to work past some big dudes to get his work done, but he has shown enough this year that he is able to do that. If opponents do not have a guy who can jump with Drummond, Drummond will get his numbers. And none of the Wizards bigs are especially good rebounders, so there is a chance that Drummond could have a big game. But once again, Gortat is good enough to at least make Drummond work for it.
Pistons vs. Hitting a 3: This is officially a shooting epidemic for the Pistons. They have a roster chocked full of guys who have been between pretty good to really good 3 point shooters in their careers, and no one but Ersan Ilyasova has been shooting any good. Reggie Jackson is the teams second best 3 point shooter. That is uh, not good. Theoretically the Pistons shooters should come out of this funk in a big way soon, but it would be nice to happen soon. Simply put, the shots have been there, some of these guys just need to make it work.
Spencer Dinwiddie vs. Actually good?: Spencer did not have the numbers to show for it, but he was brilliant in his time on the floor against the Wolves. That makes 2 of 3 games where he was really good. If he is able to play like that then suddenly this bench starts to look a lot less toothless. I am not exactly holding my breath yet that he will be able to keep that up (it is only 2 games) but it would be foolish to ignore that Dinwiddie has done some real damage getting to the hoop and scoring/facilitating once he gets there.
So in conclusion
Cackle with knowing glee if:
Andre Drummond has a double double in the first quarter.
After the game people are wondering why John Wall is making Reggie Jackson money.
Bradley Beal is taking bad shots and missing them.
Spencer Dinwiddie continues getting in the paint and killing people when he gets there.
Run for the hills if:
John Wall is pissed and goes OFF.
KCP may not actually be as good at defense as he has looked this year.
The Wizards bigs are able to give some trouble to Drummond.
The Pistons are missing wide open 3s.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Andre Drummond has a 20/20 game. (although that is hardly going out on a limb these days)
John Wall and Reggie Jackson both go for 25/10+
KCP generally eats up Beal, but Beal finds ways to score some points still in creative ways.
The Pistons finally come back to the mean and hit almost everything they shoot and end up winning by a lot. (this is going out on a limb and is mostly just wishful thinking on my part.)
This should be a pretty good game. Pretty evenly matched teams. And both of these teams figure to be battling for playoff positioning this season. The Pistons will need to do well in these games though, because their division is absolutely brutal. So even though there are obviously hard games outside the division, they need to take advantage over teams outside of it. I think the Pistons are probably better than the Wizards, but there is a good chance the Pistons lose this. Second night of a back to back and had to travel on the off day. And the Wizards have not played since tuesday. Also the whole Jackson/Wall thing. And as much as I love Jackson, Wall is almost certainly better. (He numbers generally come out to about the same but he is doing it without Andre Drummond beside him.)
What do you think? Think I'm stupid? Let me know! We all get smarter!