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PREGAME: Wizards at Pistons

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Regular Season Game 10

Washington (5-4) at Detroit (6-5)

November 21, 2015 at 7:30 PM
The Palace of Auburn Hills, Auburn Hills, MI
TV: CSN Washington
Radio: 99.1FM


Last time they met was..

February 28, 2015 – Verizon Center, Washington: Wizards 99, Pistons 95


What to watch

DEEEEEETROOOOOIIIIIT BAAAAAASKETBAAAALLLLL!!!! For the first time since the Pistons Championship core broke up, The Motor City’s Basketball Engine is revving again. The Pistons aren’t a finely tuned 12-cylinder muscle car just yet, but they are finally closer to American Muscle than they are to the banged up hooptie they’ve resembled for the last few seasons. So what happened?

Stan Van Gundy happened. The Pistons acquired a competent, established coach, with a proven track record and a vision for his team. Stan took it from there. He dumped Josh Smith for nothing (maybe not a great management decision, but a great chemistry decision). He brought in Reggie Jackson, a career backup who he deemed ready for a starting, starring role. He let Greg Monroe go, knowing Monroe could hoop, but knowing he didn’t fit his plan. The result is a highly competitive team in a suddenly highly competitive Eastern Conference.

The Pistons resemble Stan’s old Magic squads, surrounding a dominant, athletic big man with shooters all around, and a dynamic point guard with a green light, outperforming what anyone else would expect (Jameer Nelson? Rafer Alston??). This team isn’t going to the NBA Finals, but they don’t look like a lottery team anymore either. The Pistons are again a high horsepower force to be reckoned with. If you don’t believe me, ask the Cavs.


Key matchup

John Wall vs. Reggie Jackson

Wizards-Pistons

  • Reggie Jackson’s season: 21 PPG, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 4 TO, 43% FG, 35% 3 FG, 5 FT
  • John Wall’s season: 18 PPG, 3 rebounds, 9 assists, 4 TO, 42% FG, 28% 3 FG, 6 FT

During a sideline interview at a Summer League game, John Wall said:

“People talk to about me getting $80 million, now you got people getting $85 million that haven’t made the All-Star [Game] or anything like that…I guess they came in at the right time. That new CBA kicked in, and they’re good now. Reggie Jackson gets five years, $80 million. I’m getting the same as Reggie Jackson.”

We all know that John Wall isn’t a disrespectful guy, but that statement was kinda disrespectful. We all had fun with it, comparing the two, and enjoying John Wall’s clear superiority. But Wall’s superiority, though still existent, is far less evident now. Jackson is having a career year after an offseason with Stan Van, and you can be certain he remembers Wall dropping his name in a not-so-flattering fashion.

Wall has his work cut out for him on defense. The Pistons run screen roll at the top of the key virtually EVERY SINGLE POSSESSION. Jackson has the ball. Here comes Drummond coming to set the screen. There goes Wall, successfully under the screen, daring Jackson to hoist a low-percentage three. But guess what happens when Wall navigates the screen successfully? Drummond flips it and just sets ANOTHER screen. Now that you’re privy to this Detroit strategy, you’re going to find it extremely irritating. I apologize.

The good news is that Reggie Jackson is a streaky shooter, so going under screens and letting Reggie brick threes all night is a perfectly sound defensive strategy. The bad news is that Reggie Jackson is a streaky shooter, so going under screens and letting Reggie Jackson drill a few clutch threes at critical moments can ruin a perfectly sound defensive strategy.


X-Factor

Andre Drummond.

Here’s a blueprint for averaging 19 points and 19 rebounds:

  • 18 points and 19 rebounds against Al Horford and the Hawks.
  • 18 points and 10 rebounds against Rudy Gobert and the Jazz.
  • 20 points and 20 rebounds against Joakim Noah and the Bulls.
  • 25 points and 29 rebounds against the Pacers.
  • 12 points and 17 rebounds against Tyson Chandler the Suns.
  • 29 points and 27 rebounds against the Blazers.
  • 14 points and 15 rebounds against the Warriors.
  • 14 points and 17 rebounds against the Kings.
  • 18 points and 19 rebounds against DeAndre Jordan and the Clippers.
  • 17 points and 17 rebounds against the Lakers.
  • 25 points and 18 rebounds against Tristan Thompson, Mosgov, LeBron and the Cavs.

Of those 19 rebounds he’s averaging, 6 are offensive. He’s averaging a full offensive rebound more than the 5 he averaged last season, which led the league.

Through one 3-game stretch this season, Andre Drummond grabbed 73 rebounds. Marcin Gortat has 70 rebounds ALL SEASON.

He also does a lot of this:

And don’t let Drummond’s 40% free throw shooting fool you, because Drummond is no DeAndre Jordan or Dwight Howard offensively. Sure, he used to be. But no longer. Drummond has progressed more offensively in one offseason that Dwight Howard has progressed his entire career. He has a reasonably soft touch on his hook shots, and an even softer touch on his put-back tips.

The Polish Hammer may be on the wrong end of a pounding tonight. And he’ll have to wait a few days for his next check. It might be a bad night.


Fun factor

#VanGundyFace!! No one has a more diverse array of sideline expressions than Stan Van Gundy, perhaps not even #WittmanFace. Most of them express some form of disgust. Look!

Here’s the “What the hell was that??” face:

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Here’s the “Oooh. Dwight ALMOST made that free throw” face:

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Here’s the “Yeaaa….Definitely cutting [Josh Smith] after this game” face:

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Here’s the “I’m tired of this sh$%!” face:

image (5)

And here’s the “I get to coach Andre Drummond instead of Dwight Howard!!” face!

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Prediction

Here’s the “I just lost to the Wizards, and John Wall definitely does deserve more money than Reggie Jackson” face:

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we are Hoop District

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