Game Recap/Notes. Preseason Game #3 Pistons 117 - Bucks 88
As before, just assume everything comes with the asterisk of *is preseason*
Also take the asterisk that this game was called close as hell by the refs which kind of skewed everything a little bit.
Reggie Jackson: Looked tons better tonight. He was pretty efficient scoring, and most importantly he did not try and force too much. Which is evident in his lack of turnovers tonight (he had 2). While the Bucks were clearly off tonight, they were an excellent defensive team last year. And where they made their living was by creating tons of turnovers with their army of long armed freaks getting in all the passing lanes. Essentially this is exactly the sort of game where you would expect/give a bit of a pass to Jackson for having too many turnovers and struggling to keep the offense moving. But he looked great. So good for him. Although it should be noted, that going 3/4 from downtown (including one crazy shot at the end of the shot clock) and 6/6 at the line on a night with tons of fouls called makes his scoring line look better than it was. He was just 1/6 inside the three point line. And until he starts to consistently hit threes at a good percentage I will assume he will not be able to stay propped up like that, and once again. It will not be as easy to draw fouls every night as it was tonight. Next game I want to see him get some good buckets inside. However despite this, even if he had not salvaged his scoring, he was definitely a positive impact on the game with his passing.
KCP: Even though he did not shoot as well tonight, I actually think this was his best game of the preseason. He made several really nice defensive plays and had one killer pump and drive finish. It was great to see him being able to be a huge positive on the floor even when he was not locked in from deep, which was at times an issue for him last year. He was able to get inside and get some buckets. Which is the hole he has to fill in his game. Really nice outing.
Marcus Morris: *player of the game* He looked really good all game and it was great to see. Obviously he will not shoot as well as he did tonight (8/10 and a lot of those are tough contested midrangers) but you saw what he is capable of bringing to the team. I am probably higher on him than most and a night like tonight shows what I am thinking we will see quite a lot of. He is really the only guy on the team who is capable of having this sort of night where he can totally create for himself and there is nothing that can really be done to stop him. The Bucks even started to send soft double teams his way. Once again, he will not shoot this well every night, and the key will be to have the regular be closer to this than to shooting poorly, but it was still good to see. The other great thing was that I think he had a great balance of letting the offense come to him. There were maybe a couple times he forced a shot when he should have kept the ball moving. And I say maybe because he had a good matchup in each and was able to get a decent look for himself. When he was not in a clear and good position to go 1 on 1 he kept the ball moving. If he can play level headed offense like that regularly he will be a great addition to the team. He also played pretty decent defense for most of the game (I thought at least)
Ersan Ilyasova: Another pretty "meh" game. Did not do a whole lot of note. He needs to hit some shots obviously but there is no reason to think he won't start hitting them. And outside of his poor shooting, he certainly didn't really do anything to hurt the team. Pretty neutral. Which in reality is part of the idea behind having him on the team and his role. His role is to space the floor and not force stuff. He did just fine. Although it would be nice to see him hit a few more shots. (fwiw I also think he could stand to take a few more instead of trying to drive. Its fine to try and drive and get a better shot but it seems to me like he is often passing up great looks.)
Andre Drummond: He looked really good. He scored well, and he played really solid D on Moose. (unless I am damn near blind which is a possibility. Most of Monroe's damage was done when Dre was elsewhere) And although his decisions, as far as making the right pass in response to double teams, need to get quicker, he is generally making the right decision. And he is able to use his size and strength to often fend off the defenders to buy him some extra time. But the decision does need to come quicker, but overall he was really good on both ends. But there is bad news: Dre shot 10 free throws, and hit three of them. This is not news unless you were hoping for some sort of significant improvement in foul shooting. Obviously it is possible he could improve to be around 50% for the season, but tonight is a pretty good sign that it will be a huge problem once again. Which is frustrating. However he was still solid on both ends.
Stanley Johnson: He looked really good again, and you could see the potential of being a killer 6th man type this year, which is the role I'm starting to think he will end up in. He ran the offense some, created some good looks for himself and for teammates, and continued to show that he is a legit option from deep. The only real issue I found was actually his D. He got beat badly several times tonight 1 on 1 that I saw. While it is certainly expected that young players get burned in various ways defensively, straight up 1 on 1 is not usually where you say "yeah he is a rookie" those rookie mistakes are generally missing rotations, getting killed by screens etc. Not getting your ankles broken by Giannis. But overall he was good.
Joel Anthony: LOL. Hopefully we do not need to see him play too many real minutes in the regular season, but he sure is fun to watch when he does play. Everyone always seems so surprised by his leaping ability and he seems to clobber some poor saps layup attempt every time he comes off the bench. Even though that is pretty much the only thing he is useful for, it is useful, and it is fun to see.
Spencer Dinwiddie: He looked like an NBA player again, which was nice. There was is one trend of his in particular that I have been following though. He seems to have somewhat of a knack for drawing fouls. (while it has already been stated that tonight it was easier than usual) but despite his generally underwhelming performance over the summer, he did still draw quite a few fouls. And has done the same the last two games now. It will be interesting to see if this continues as a trend. Because it is the first sign of something he may have that can be a consistent weapon for him other than being long for a PG and ergo disruptive on D. Even besides the drawing fouls though he actually looked pretty sharp. But keep an eye on his foul shooting throughout the rest of the preseason, because that may be the foundations of him becoming an actual useful NBA player.
**Reggie Bullock: He was the primary beneficiary of Jodie Meeks not playing tonight. And he was very good. He was not likely to miss the roster anyways I would imagine, however as long as he does not fall off a complete cliff the rest of the preseason there will be no doubt he makes it. And if he can play like he has in his first two games (still don't know why for sure he didn't play against the nets) he will likely end up breaking into the back end of the rotation by the time the regular season starts. I am still rather befuddled by him though, there has to be some reason that a lottery pick is basically given up on by two straight teams, and everyone says that they know he can shoot. But he has looked just fine on D and has generally been pretty good about moving the ball on offense. So I will yet again, continue to wait for something to happen that says "Oh that's why no one wanted him" but until then, I'm going to actually be pretty excited that a basic throwaway in the Marcus Morris deal could end up being a useful player. (who also is young as a bonus)**
Anthony Tolliver: Not a whole lot to say about him again. He knows exactly what his role is. Give some energy, and shoot threes. He did just fine at both. As long as he shoots pretty well from three there is not much to talk about with him. Keep up the good work.
Darrun Hilliard: First action! (I believe) He did not really do anything of particular note. He drew a couple fouls when literally everyone was doing exactly that. And it was in garbage time. But it was nice to see him make the floor. (if say Cartier Martin had played in front of him that would be a real bad sign)
Bachynski: Did literally nothing of note and is almost certainly bound to be cut however he did provide for a couple moments of hilarity from the announcers. So you go Mr. Bachynski, you may not be a real NBA player, but you still managed to bring joy to people at the end of a blowout preseason game.
General notes: Once again it was good to see the potential of having a team filled to the brim with shooters, however it would be foolish to put too much into this game. So many fouls were called it was outrageous. However, preseason or not, it is nice to get a win. The fact that Cartier Martin did not even play here is a good sign he is going to be cut, for whatever that is worth. (unless there is some sort of injury I have not heard about) But was a goofy game overall. And while the team will not shoot like this very often, when you have a whole bunch of good shooters on a team, games like this will happen. It will be a upper end, but not really an outlier (if that makes sense.)
What did you think of the team tonight? Agree? Disagree? Voice an opinion! We all get smarter!