The Detroit Pistons had two full off days to rebound from the loss to the Indiana Pacers and face the Washington Wizards. Whatever they did with that time didn’t work as everything that was bad and frustrating about that loss was magnified in a lifeless, uninspiring 120-98 loss to the Washington Wizards.
The list of poor performers on Detroit’s side of the stat sheet is distressingly long but is topped by last year’s No. 1 pick Cade Cunningham. He’s just not locked in, and he doesn’t look like he’s physically ready for the demands of the NBA season.
Cunningham scored 19 points, but needed 19 shots to get there and never exerted his will on the proceedings. Next up on the list is Killian Hayes. After an offseason promising an improved shooting stroke and more aggressive mentality, Hayes is the same Hayes he’s always been, except maybe worse.
He was 0-of-6 from the field, but he didn’t balance any of that out with quality facilitating. He had zero assists and four turnovers and was eventually benched in the second half for Kevin Knox as Cory Joseph took over backup point guard duties.
Saddiq Bey was invisible on offense and delivered another poor defensive performance. He took just five shots in 27 minutes and finished a game-worst minus-24.
The Pistons shot just 40% from the floor, 28% from 3 and had more turnovers (13) than assists (12). They got outrebounded, outscored in the paint, and the bench was outscored 40-26.
It was a sad, uninspiring effort for a Pistons team that said they were ready to play a more competitive brand of basketball this season.
The Wizards were led by Kyle Kuzma with 25 points and Detroit had no answers for the size of Kristaps Porzingis who scored 20 without breaking much of a sweat. Bradly Beal was limited with back tightness, but a 16-5 Wizards run with Beal off the floor put the game away for Washington in the third.
The only players who played somewhat well in Detroit were Bojan Bogdanovic and a pair of rookies. Bogdanovic scored 25 points on 8-of-13 and was decisive firing from the perimeter and driving to the basket. Jaden Ivey also continued to show how he an harness his athleticism to create scoring opportunities for himself and passing lanes to funnel the ball to teammates.
Ivey finished with 11 points and four assists. Unfortunately, Ivey is really struggling on defense as he is struggling to keep pace and not get caught flat-footed or out of position.
Jalen Duren didn’t deliver any highlight reel plays, but his length, rebounding and availability as a roll man really opens up the game for Detroit. Duren continues to argue for more playing time and a more prominent role in the Pistons lineup. He finished with 6 points and 8 rebounds in 23 minutes.
It doesn’t get any easier for the Pistons who have two game against the Hawks and two games against the Bucks with a tilt against the Cavs in between. It also doesn’t appear the clearly overmatched bench will get reinforcements anytime soon as Alec Burks, Marvin Bagley and Nerlens Noel anytime soon.