Game Recap/Notes: Preseason game #6. Raptors 103 - Pistons 92. 3-3.
Well, not totally ideal as a way to close out the preseason, but hey, no one got hurt in this game. Also the reality is that this game was just Kyle Lowry and DeRozan going off more than anything else.
Had a bit of a let down after brilliance in the previous 3 games, 7 points on 9 shots and just 3 assists to go along with 3 turnovers. Those are unimpressive stats that represent a fairly unimpressive night, although to be fair to Ish, there were a lot of free throws shot and if free throws counted for assists he would have had like 3 or 4 more of them, and he also did not handle the ball as much tonight. On the plus side, he had 4(!!!????) blocks in the game to finish off a preseason in which he looked very solid defensively. In the end it was a fairly poor night for Ish, but not a total disaster, and I'm still pretty confident with him at the head of the offense heading into the season.
16 points on 12 equivalents, 1 assist and 1 turnover. It should be noted that 3 of those points came from being fouled behind the 3 point line in a play that he had nothing to do with lol. He also has officially got a case of “bone headed Morrii” where he takes one specific shot that Marcus used to be plagued with and was a major case for why Suns fans were so frustrated with him. It is a play where he will sort of dribble himself into the corner (just a bit inside the 3 point line) and shoot a midrange shot from the baseline while being guarded by 2 guys. I cringe when Morris occasionally still takes this shot, and I cringe even more when KCP takes it because at least Marcus hits those occasionally. If KCP does not get a good clean look coming off a screen he shouldn't shoot it, and (by my unofficial count) 3 of his misses were a result of this. Regardless of his offensive woes, he managed to impact the game defensively and got several steals and several easy buckets in transition to give himself a solid line for the end of the game. If he can just cut out the crap shot selection he would have had a really nice night offensively. Defensively he had the already mentioned steals and fast breaks, and he did struggle a bit with DeRozan, which should be expected given that it is a poor matchup for him, but it should be noted that DeRozan largely roasted him. Overall a decent night for KCP, he wasted a couple of possessions but also created a couple with his defense, when he isn't in such a bad matchup this night will be a very nice game for him.
After getting about a week off, Morris came out and looks to be totally fine. 14 points on 14 shots, (although 1-6 from 3, and all but one were really nice looks) and 2 assists to go with 2 turnovers. He largely looked to be himself, roasting a few dudes in isolation and making good passes, if he hit one more of his 3s this is a much better ending line, but sometimes you miss. Defensively he was not asked to do a ton as SVG never swapped him onto DeRozan like they had last year, but he still looked fine. No reason to expect he will be anything other than the steady two way player as last year.
14 points on 10 equivalents, including 8/8 from the line in just 26 minutes. He was once again a very steadying presence with his shot creation on offense and bailed out the Pistons a few different times, throw in 2 assists without a turnover and it was a pretty complete night for Tobias on offense. The only thing that is a wee bit worrisome is that he finishes the preseason shooting 32% from 3. Obviously it is just preseason, but that does not calm my nerves about the potential for him to be a fairly poor shooter this year. The best news for Tobias however, was his defensive effort. He still had his moments of poor play, but he generally looked much sharper and focused than he has in the past, and him continuing that into the regular season will be important.
16 points, primarily on a flurry of nice post moves, on 14 equivalents, 13 boards, and 2 assists. Nice offensive game for Drummond, and he also did a good job of largely keeping JV from having much impact on the offensive end for the Raptors. As much as I have praised his passing in the preseason, he went a bit overboard trying to showboat with interior passes the last couple of games. They were still good passes, but if he could cut out the look away after passing it and short arming it and whatnot that would be great. He finishes the preseason looking better and a more polished with the ball in his hands, if still a bit out of control sometimes. He figures to be taking another step forwards, and only time will tell how large the step is.
7 points on 7 shots including his first 3 pointer of the preseason (-_-) and 2 assists on the night. And honestly not much else, he didn't make any major impact on the defensive end, although he seemed to do fine, and he didn't handle the ball a ton or do much else on offense. He was just sort of there I guess. He joins up with KCP and Tobias in the “I'm still worried if this team can shoot at all” camp but did look better defensively in the preseason.
Closes out a really good preseason on a high note with 11 points on 9 shots, with 3 rebounds. The one thing that was a bit worrying was that for the periods where he and Ellenson shared the floor, they got destroyed on the glass. Leuer is not an elite rebounder or anything, but he shouldn't be getting beat like that. Overall he impressed me this preseason, particularly with his ball skill both dribbling and passing, and we will see how he shoots this year but the early returns are pretty good.
Mostly par for the course I would say, his 4 points on 7 shots along with 6 assists to just 1 turnover would keep him with a slight edge over McCallum based on what I've seen, but it is not a wide gap and I would not be overly surprised if McCallum wins the roster spot. That said, I really think the offense has looked better with Brown on the floor than McCallum. Brown is much more active in trying to make plays, while McCallum is more content to just sort of run through the motions.
Ellenson got the backup center minutes tonight, and was kind of invisible for most of the night. Just 3 points on 3 shots, and 4 boards. The most noticeable thing about his game tonight was that when he shared the floor with Leuer, the Pistons got slaughtered on the boards. Anyways though, a nice preseason for him, after the expectation had been for him to spend most of the year in Grand Rapids, he actually got some playing time in preseason and supposedly impressed SVG in a major way.
It's a bit maddening that SVG used a 9 man rotation in a preseason game for the 2nd time, especially leaving Gbinije on the bench after 2 impressive performances and on a night where his defense could have really been tested by either Lowry or DeRozan. I'm not too worried about Lowry's big game because the Pistons intentionally gave up the pull up 3s off of screens, its preseason so they were not going to run out some special defense to combat his shooting, and he hit a lot of them. I thought the Pistons did a decent job on DeMar, although it is clear that KCP has not found the extra strength to guard bigger and more physical players. Either way, this game had some good stuff and I am very ready for the regular season to start so we can see what SVG really has in plan.
What do you think? Should Gbinije have played? Brown or McCallum?
Also a reminder, podcast tomorrow.