When Dwane Casey originally took over the Detroit Pistons, he had immediate success against the Toronto Raptors, his former club. But as of late, the Raptors have had Detroit’s number.
Toronto is aiming for a season sweep as they’ve won the first three games of this season’s series, but Detroit has played Toronto close in every game. They’ve lost those three games by a combined six points, with the most recent strike in the L column coming exactly one month ago today.
This tank-worthy Pistons team, and the squads that have suited up against Toronto earlier in the season, are dramatically different. But you still have to suit up and show out, since the players on the court are trying to win, no matter what.
When: 7:30 p.m. EST
Where: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, ON
Watch: Bally Sports
Odds: Pistons +12.5
At this point in the season, when there’s nothing concrete to play for, other than the allotment of lottery balls (yes, that is important), you’re still looking for something that you can latch onto that may carry into next season.
For Detroit, the most glaring figure to keep your eye on might be James Wiseman. You could make the case for either Jaden Ivey or Jalen Duren, but Pistons fans have seen these two play major minutes during their rookie season, and they’ll continue to be featured heavily next season. Wiseman is still more of an unknown when it comes to his future role in Detroit.
Since the Pistons have acquired Wiseman, he’s been allowed to play through his mistakes, and has seen a healthy dose of minutes compared to his time in Golden State. He’s played 15 games for Detroit, and has averaged 13.3 points (on 55% shooting), 9 rebounds, and nearly one block, in 26 minutes per game. He hasn’t been shy to shoot the jumper when open, or bruise his way into the paint, and he’s shown some impressive foot skills on the defensive side of the floor as well.
He’ll be matched up against a very skilled big man in Jakob Poeltl, who’s having a career year, and boasting even better numbers since he’s arrived back in Toronto. In his 17 games with Toronto, he’s averaged 15.5 points, 9.3 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.6 blocks per game.
This will be an excellent test for Wiseman, who will have to defend Poeltl one-on-one, and protect the paint against the big bodies of Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby. He’ll also have to remain aggressive against a skilled defender, should Detroit have any chance of avoiding the season sweep.
Detroit Pistons (16-57)
Killian Hayes, Jaden Ivey, Rodney McGruder, Marvin Bagley III, James Wiseman
Toronto Raptors (35-38)
Fred VanVleet, Will Barton, OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Jakob Poeltl
Question of the Day
What do you think will be Wiseman’s role next year in Detroit? If different, what should his role be?