We're almost done with the preseason. Two games left. The Wizards will face the Pistons in the first of those two games.
Where and when? Tip off is at 7:30 in Detroit. This one's not going to be on Comcast, so you'll have to go with NBA TV or just listen to the radio.
Are they good? They should be. Detroit's still untested, but they have All-Star caliber players at both forward positions and big man Andre Drummond could be the best center in the NBA within a few years. Brandon Jennings is a solid point guard, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope should be a legit three-and-d guy. (Jennings won't play tonight, though). The Pistons' bench could also be effective, with Chauncey Billups, Rodney Stuckey, Will Bynum and Jonas Jerebko providing veteran help and shooting. Meanwhile, Tony Mitchell and Luigi Datome are both intriguing newcomers who could play meaningful minutes right away. The talent is there, Detroit just needs to make these guys fit together.
Why should I care? Drummond is a freak of nature and Exhibit A as to why teams draft for upside and ignore the player's current game (with, well, everyone Washington has drafted other than Bradley Beal and Wall serving as a reminder as to why that's not always a good idea). He only played about 20 minutes a game last year but he averaged 15 and 15 per 40 minutes. He could very well be the game's next great true center.
Who's out? The Wizards are going to be missing Emeka Okafor, Chris Singleton and Otto Porter. Detroit is going to be missing Jennings and Stuckey, something that should make life a lot easier for John Wall tonight.
What are they good at? Detroit should be able dominate the paint this season on both ends of the floor. Drummond and Smith are both elite rebounders and shot blockers and Monroe's an elite rebounder. The team finished ninth in offensive rebounding percentage without Smith and with Drummond in a reduced role, so they could very well lead the league this year. They weren't as good on the defensive end, finishing only 23rd in defensive rebounding percentage, and will likely punch below their weight class in that regard due to a lack of discipline from Smith and Drummond when it comes to boxing out. Don't get me wrong, they'll be better on the defensive glass, just not as good as a team with their athleticism should be.
What are they bad at? This team's spacing is going to be awful. Monroe and Smith are both poor midrange shooters, never mind from behind the arc, and Drummond can't even hit a free throw. Jennings and Caldwell-Pope can both hit a three pointer but they're not good enough to prevent teams from packing the paint and making life difficult for the team's bigs. The Pistons have some bigs who can shoot on the bench, notably Jerebko and Charlie Villanueva, so the team will most likely avoid playing Smith, Monroe and Drummond at the same time when possible.
Who's going to win? With a healthy Jennings, I'd probably go with Detroit. Since he's sitting, though, Washington should be considered a slight favorite. Detroit has more talent, but the team's only options at point guard will be Will Bynum, who dominates the ball, and Billups, who shouldn't play heavy minutes in a preseason game.
What are your predictions for tonight's game? Sound off in the comments and vote in our poll!
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