Top takeaways from Detroit Pistons’ preseason finale vs. Washington Wizards

Detroit Free Press

Omari Sankofa II
| Detroit Free Press

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After trailing by 16 in the second quarter, the Detroit Pistons tied Saturday’s preseason finale against the Washington Wizards midway through the fourth quarter. 

They didn’t complete the comeback, but the strong finish allowed them to close their four-game preseason slate on a slightly better note than it appeared they would. The Wizards beat the Pistons 99-96, and Detroit finished preseason with a 2-2 record. 

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An offseason of roster attritionled to Detroit looking like a team still figuring itself out. There were flashes of the offense finding its flow and the Pistons locking in defensively, but it could be some time before this team looks fully comfortable.

Here’s what we saw from their final preseason game: 

Jerami Grant has found his touch

After shooting 1-for-11 in the Pistons’ preseason opener, Grant has settled into a better offensive rhythm — particularly from outside. He went 5-for-8 overall from 3 in the following two games, and continued his solid shooting Saturday before tailing off toward the final whistle. 

Grant is likely Detroit’s second-best shooter (behind Svi Mykhailiuk). He’s coming off of consecutive seasons shooting 39% overall from deep. 

Grant has also flashed some ability to create his own shot, which is good news for the Pistons. They paid him with the hope that he’ll emerge as a go-to offensive weapon. He’s hit some difficult layups during the last two games and, at times, has blown by his defender with the ball in his hands. 

Josh Jackson is on a hot streak 

Like Grant, Jackson has become one of Detroit’s most consistent offensive weapons during preseason. He led the team with 17 points on 7 of 11 shooting from the field during Friday’s win against the Wizards, and he came back on Saturday with another strong performance. He finished with 13 points and eight rebounds on 4 of 8 overall shooting.

In his last three games, Jackson hit 9 of 16 3-pointers. His outside shot has long been considered one of the weaker aspects of his game, but he’s been on fire as of late. Combined with his defense and ability to handle the ball, he could become one of Detroit’s best two-way players if he continues to be a threat on the perimeter. 

Speaking of defense, Jackson has been just as consistent on that end of the floor. He had a vicious chase-down block toward the end of Saturday’s game, with the Pistons trailing 98-94. He’s one of the most athletic players on the roster and has been moving very well to stay in front of his opponent — or in the case of the chase-down blo , rapidly closing the distance while behind his opponent. 

Pistons still looking for offensive punch

After a solid start on Saturday, the Pistons slumped in the second quarter. They struggled to find any flow during most of the quarter, and fell behind by 16 points at one point. Detroit shot 8-22 overall and 4-14 from 3 in the period. 

Detroit bounced back somewhat in the second half, out-scoring the Wizards 47-36 in the final period and tying the game at 89 midway through the fourth quarter. But Washington quickly responded with a pair of 3-pointers after the Pistons tied the score, and Detroit couldn’t re-close the gap. 

Casey estimates it’ll be at least two weeks into the season until he’s able to begin finalizing his rotation. The Pistons are still looking for lineups that gel offensively. Blake Griffin finding his rhythm will help significantly. Griffin went 5-21 from downtown through four preseason games. It’s likely to improve as he works off rust, but Detroit often missed his shotmaking.

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