Game Recap/Notes. Preseason game #4. Pistons 114 - Bulls 91
As before, assume everything said comes with the asterisk is preseason
Reggie Jackson: A bit odd but still effective game tonight. He scored 20 points and did it pretty efficiently. And while 3 turnovers is better from the last couple games, he only had 2 assists. Which is really odd. In his time with the Pistons Jackson has, even on his bad days, dished out tons of assists. But I suppose I will take it, he scored pretty well, although he also shot like crap from three. He also looked pretty good on D for the most part.
KCP: Quiet game for KCP. But as I said after last game, that is not the worst thing in the world. While scoring just 2 points is never exactly a good thing for one of your starters. He did not force up bad shots, and instead kept the ball moving and instead put in good hustle on D. Although it was borderline anger inducing to watch him try and run any sort of pick and roll, only to get nowhere and pick up his dribble in no mans land and turn around to look for a safety valve outlet. I am all for giving KCP a chance to do some ball handling and run some pick and rolls, but holy crap they have to look better than this. I believe they ran it 4 times (give or take) and it literally ended the same way each time, except on one of them he took a shot and bricked it. This team is in fact trying to win games, ergo he should not be doing any sort of primary ball handling until he can at least do something remotely positive when he does so. Wow that was kind of hard on him, so I will re-iterate: he is showing signs of growing by being ok to not score and work his tail off in other areas. Not a horrible game from KCP, not very good, but not horrible. (just please God don't make me watch him run any more pick and rolls. It made me want to kill)
Stanley Johnson: Once again, this was kind of a weird game, but he was just ok. He played good D for the most part and made a few really nice passes on offense. A few games in now, there are 2 areas on offense that he clearly needs to work on a bit. 1. Better assess when he has the right matchup to just take his dude and when not too. For instance, it was pretty clear Mcdermitt stood no chance in staying in front of Johnson, and Johnson took advantage. That is a good matchup and will yield good, effective results every time. However when he is covered by, Jimmy Butler for example, don't try and take him off the dribble or anything. 2. Make more heads up decisions. And what I mean by that is, it seems to me that when he makes his move, he is either looking to score or to pass. (this goes hand in hand with #1) So when he drives in and is either clearly not going to get a good look or there is a good pass, be willing to just pass it. But if the shot is open, shoot it. But both these things are areas that literally every rookie struggles with. However Johnson has set a high bar for himself so far, so I see no reason to lower it. Even though he did not put up the gaudy numbers we have been seeing from him, he still played a pretty nice game.
Marcus Morris: Nice bounce back game for him. I really like him at the 4, he really creates some matchup problems. Noah was guarding him for a stretch in the 2nd Q (I think thats when it was at least, maybe it wasn't though, I'm tired.) Where they let him iso up on like 4 straight possessions and he hit shots on each one following nice moves to get his look. While I would prefer him try and use his speed advantage to try to get to the hoop more than shoot a midrange jumper, he is still getting a really good look. The other thing I like about putting him at the 4 is that when he picks of the point guard there is going to be an issue, either a big is trying to guard Reggie Jackson or a point guard is trying to guard Morris. And Morris will absolutely fry any PG. He also played some really nice D I thought. HOWEVA. It should be noted that there were 2 plays he made that were of the "bonehead" variety that I distinctly remember. One was on D, where Jimmy Butler drove to the hoop, and for some reason Morris (who was guarding Nikola Mirotic on the top of the arc) decided to come down to take a stupid swipe at the ball, giving Butler and easy pass for a wide open three for Mirotic. Even discounting the fact that it ended in a wide open three, those sorts of half-assed swipes never really work, and often end up being fouls. Dumb play. There was also an offensive possession where somehow he ended up with the ball almost in the corner beyond the three point line. And he just sort of stood there for a second, and then just decided to fling a shot up. Like, just a stupid play. Unless he has a legit size advantage (he did not here) there is literally no reason to do that. But despite those 2 plays, he had a really good game.Although the curious trend of him playing less minutes than the rest of the starters continued tonight.
Andre Drummond: His 10 boards undersell how impactful he was on the boards tonight. Going against the bulls who play 2 "true" bigs, he was truly a one man show tonight as far as rebounding. (even more so with Ersan resting tonight, who is probably the teams second best rebounder) And he did very well, and just going off of memory, I think he got several tip out type rebounds that ended up in other players hands that he did not get credit for because I feel like he got more than 10 boards. He also of course scored his customarily efficient 14 points. HOWEVA it should be noted that some what of a "thing" was made by the announcers that Andre was pouting a little bit or some sort of that nature. I was watching on a stream that was not exactly HD so I could not say for myself, and overall I am not a fan of people playing "body language doctor" particularly since they said "he still has to play hard" when he was literally kicking all sorts of ass all night with his effort on the boards. But when he came back in in the 4th, (I'm not sure why he did) it actually was pretty clear. I would not worry too much about it. 1st, he actually had somewhat of a reason to pout, the team only had 25 team assists and generally was playing a lot of iso ball and he was not in on it despite his great effort on the boards. Also, it's the freaking preseason, who knows what else happened today. He has never had any sort of real issue with it, so I won't worry about it until it actually is a problem.
Anthony Tolliver: played his most minutes of the preseason with Ersan resting tonight. And he did exactly what he is around to do. Played with energy and hit some 3s. He also made a really nice drive and pass move during the bench mob at the end of the game. (not that its actually worth anything, just thought it was cool) Even though he figures to play a pretty limited role this season, it is nice to see that he is ready to go if needed.
Reggie Bullock: WOW. I have said before that I will keep looking for the reason why 2 straight teams basically game up on him, and I think I might stop that now. While I doubt there was actually much chance he would not make the roster, he was theoretically among the group that was fighting for spots, but I think he is no longer fighting for a roster spot. He is likely fighting for a rotation spot, and if he plays like this in the last 3 games of the preseason, he better be in the rotation. He shot lights out (which obviously won't happen every night) moved the ball, got out on the break several times, and was solid on D. And tonight I actually specifically watched him play D to see if there was something I was missing (once again, looking for why it is he couldn't stick at his last 2 stops) and I came away very impressed. If he can shoot anywhere in the range of "good" this season, (which has been an issue, in his limited playing time he has only shot in the low 30s from 3 in his short career.) The trade for him and Marcus Morris could well be one of the best under the radar moves of this off season.
Jodie Meeks: Had another nice efficient game on offense. Simply put, he is just a really good offensive player. He makes good plays, and can score. HOWEVER he was terrible on D. And when someone is so bad that I, as just some average dude who does not know a lot of the intricacies of NBA defense can see that you are doing terrible on D. You really are doing terrible. He died constantly on screens and could not stay in front of almost anyone. He is not usually this bad so it is not a big deal, but it still stuck out to me tonight for whatever reason. But he was still really solid on offense. And the reality is that offense is what we want him for. It will be nice to have him for a full season.
Spencer Dinwiddie: LOOKED LIKE AN NBA PLAYER AGAIN!! No but really, this is good. For three straight games he has looked like a competent NBA point guard. He made a couple of nice plays, and shot some more free throws. And I'm not saying that I hope Steve Blake just sort of stays hurt, but I am saying that I officially hope SVG lets Dinwiddie be the backup full time once the season comes around. His D caused some real issues at different points for the small point guards of the Bulls, and when he puts his mind to go downhill to the rim he is actually been pretty effective. He is starting to not just be "potentially a NBA player" and being "a NBA player" and he is so much younger than Blake that if he is close to as effective as Blake (which I would guess he is right now) I would rather give the time to Dinwiddie. Maybe I'm overreacting, but I really think he looks like he is starting to settle into what his game is: putting his head down and just going at the hoop. He can finish with some decency, draw some fouls, and make some nice passes when he does this.
Aaron Baynes: FIRST ACTION(!) for our new backup center. He made a couple of nice plays, including a nice showing of his short range jumper, and some nice hustle plays. But I actually was not overly impressed. Being his first game he has some excuse to be a little rusty, but he will still have to be quite a bit better than this to justify his contract. He is being paid as though he is a killer backup center, and tonight he just looked like a competent backup center I thought. But I will withhold any real judgement until he at least gets a couple more games in and does not have a minutes restriction. Darrun Hilliard: Nice to see him get on the floor, but he did not do anything of note. Unless he is given some actual playing time (his only time so far has been at the very end of 2 blowouts) I would guess he is going to be Grand Rapids bound when the preseason is over, which is ok. Reggie Bullock's great play is likely a factor in Hilliard being totally buried. So it is ok to send him down to let him play some and see if he can do something in the D league or not. However I still hope he gets some sort of real run in one of the remaining preseason games.
JORDAN BACHYNSKI: Probably not even worth mentioning since I am fairly sure he is a garuntee to be cut. But he did draw a couple fouls, and did not look totally lost on D. So thats something he can put on his resume while looking for jobs overseas or in the D league. I honestly wouldn't mind putting him on the Drive if they could get him. He can clearly shoot and he is not a total disaster on D (it seems) so if an injury were to come about he would be potentially helpful to have around. (I'll be honest, I wanted to try and say something nice about the guy, and that was the best I could come up with)
General notes: Weird game, D looked pretty good. But the ball did not move very much, only 25 team assists and yet the team still scored a lot of points. Which is good and bad. On one hand, the Pistons do not want to be the Raptors, and SVG in particular is not trying to do that. But on the other hand, it is nice to see (and a great indicator on how improved the roster likely is) that the team can pass the ball so poorly and still put in a good offensive showing.
What do you think? Give an opinion! We all get smarter!