After a frustrating loss against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday, the Pistons face a Wizards team that has been off to a surprising start. They have cooled off a bit in recent weeks, but they are still a far more challenging foe than the Thunder.
The Pistons played a good game against the Thunder for three quarters, but an abysmal 4th quarter doomed the Pistons. They will have to bounce back quickly against the Wizards, who are currently 5th in the East.
Where: Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, MI
When: Wednesday, Dec. 8 at 7 pm
Watch: Bally Sports Detroit
Odds: Pistons (+5.5)
The Wizards have a new-look roster after trading Russell Westbrook to the Lakers in the offseason. The move made waves across the NBA, and the early returns are that the Wizards are the “winners of the deal.” In that deal, the Wizards acquired Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, and old friend Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
While none of those three players have the start power of Russell Westbrook, they rebalance the roster and offer the Wizards more depth. It also added cap flexibility and they were able to add another former Piston, Spencer Dinwiddie, in the offseason.
Montrezl Harrell was a perennial 6th man of the year contender when he was on the Clippers, but he was misused on the Lakers and did not make the impact they had hoped. Harrell has looked like his former Clippers-self while on the Wizards as the Wizards have allowed him to go back to being the post scoring beast off the bench that he is.
Although Kyle Kuzma is only averaging 12.9 points per game, which matches last season’s scoring mark, he is averaging a career-high 8.4 rebounds per game and 2.8 assists. He has also been better defensively and has been able to impact the game more than just the scoring role he had while on the Lakers.
Bradley Beal had been neglecting the defensive end a bit as he was relied on to create most of the Wizards offense. With their new additions, he is able to focus a bit more defensively and has less pressure on him offensively. He has gotten off to a bit of a slow start on offense as he is only shooting 27 percent from 3 and 44 percent from the field, but I would expect those numbers to get back to his career norms as the season goes on, and he is still leading the Wizards in scoring at 23 points per game.
Bradley Beal could get Cade Cunningham in foul trouble if he is not careful. His free throw attempts are down this year at only 4.4 per game, but he has averaged 8 free throw attempts per game the last two seasons and has the veteran moves you need to draw fouls.
Another matchup to watch is how the Pistons handle the center matchups. Isaiah Stewart probably matches up better with Montrezl Harrell as opposed to starting center Daniel Gafford, but Harrell comes off the bench, so I am not sure how much he will face Harrell. Dwane Casey may want to adjust his minutes a bit so that he is matched up with Harrell more because it could be a long night if Trey Lyles has to guard him for most of the game.
The Pistons will need to put together a full game if they want any hope of winning this one, which they haven’t been able to do even against the lower tier teams like the Thunder.
The Wizards have been struggling a bit over the last couple weeks after a hot start. I think they are closer to where they are currently as opposed to one of the better teams in the East like they were in the early part of the season. But as is the case with most of the Pistons matchups, they are the better team and losing should be the expectation.
Washington Wizards (14-11): Spencer Dinwiddie, Bradley Beal, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Kyle Kuzma, Daniel Gafford
Detroit Pistons (4-19): Killian Hayes, Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey, Jerami Grant, Isaiah Stewart
As we inch closer to trade season, should the Pistons start to explore trades to balance out the roster a bit or continue with what they have and hope they start to get things back on track?