Game Recap/Notes: Preseason Game #2. Pistons 109 - Hawks 87. (1-1)
Well that game was kind of a crap show given the guys who sat out, but still in was a kind of nice crap show. Reggie Jackson was held out again for the groin issue (he was on the sideline tonight though and energetic so that was nice I suppose) and Andre has pink eye so he didn't play either.
Ish had a nice bounce back from a bit of an uneven opening preseason game with a great performance. He finished the night with 8 assists and just 1 turnover after 5 turnovers in the last game, and he found his jump shot in the second half on his way to 15 points on 10 shots. (all points coming in the second half) He also had 5 rebounds on the night and was active on defense on his way to compiling a game high +26 on the night. Very good night for Ish, nights like this where he actually hits some jumpers are always fun with him.
Bradley joined his backcourt mate in having a nice bounce back tonight. Finishing the night with 18 points on 15 equivalents with a pair of rebounds, an assist, and 2 steals. In addition to his steals he made several nice defensive plays and I am pretty sure that he is going to be an absolute joy to watch on that end of the floor all year long. The thing that was particularly impressive in this game was that Bradley had quite a few nice drives to the hoop which has never really been an overly strong point for him. Hopefully he can start finding some more 3s though.
His stat line didn't end up being all that incredible, but by the eye test this game was as good as Stanley has played in the NBA. He finished the night with 10 points on 9 shots, 4 rebounds, a pair of assists, and a steal and he went 2 of 3 from deep. He was confident and effective on offense with a couple very nice passes and had a good drive to the hoop as well. Stanley looks to be pretty well poised on the offensive end and it really does continue to look like all he has to do is manage to get the ball to fall into the hoop because he is doing everything else right. Defensively he was excellent as well, and even though he was not exactly guarding a murderers row I don't think there was hardly a possession where he seemed to be even slightly challenged. Time will tell if he can keep his defensive focus all the time and get the ball in the hoop, but through two games he has been great and sported a second best +22 on the night after a game high in the previous game.
Once again Tobias was pretty good, and once again I am not really interested in him. I am totally confident in him come season time. He scored 17 points on 14 shots and went 3 of 5 from deep with 6 rebounds on the night. Solid night for Tobias. Once again it would be nice to see him have a big night scoring before the games start to count but other than that, there isn't much I am looking for from him.
Starting at center with Andre sidelined, and Leuer played very solidly. He only played 25 minutes, but scored 6 points on 7 shots with 11 boards, 3 assists, a steal, and a block (I think he actually had 2 blocks FWIW) and one big thing that a positive result of him playing center for (I think) all of his time on the floor is that he didn't even attempt a 3, and it wasn't because he passed up on a bunch of open ones. I hope that SVG continues to try Leuer as a center when the season starts because I think Leuer is a better fit there quite frankly, and I also loved the combination of having him along with Ellenson as the front court. That is just a great combination of size and skill coming off the bench together. It should also be noted that he went +18 in his 25 minutes.
Kennard continues to look like he belongs on an NBA floor, scoring 9 points on 10 shots with 4 boards and a pair of assists to get a bench high +11 in 26 minutes. Curtesy of some better camera angles from tonight, I can confirm that Kennard is more than just a shooter more confidently than after game one. He has some legit handles and quicks with the ball in his hands, on one possession he straight up ghosted a guy (though he missed the shot) and the Hawks also threw traps at him to keep him from letting fly off the dribble.
On the defensive end in particular though, I was able to get a better look, and I came away mostly impressed. He got his hands on a few passes, largely stuck with his guys, and was unremarkable for his goodness or badness. Once again, this wasn't great competition but I will take it. If he keeps this up in preseason I will be rooting for him to get playing time more than I was heading into the year.
Moreland got his first playing time for 21 minutes tonight and he picked up right where he left off in summer league. In his 21 minutes he had 2 points on 1 shot, 13 rebounds, and 2 fouls. That is his entire stat line. He is a bit undersized but a good athlete and energy big which I think is perfect for a 3rd big. He did surprise me with a few very nice passes as well. Regardless, I would say that it should be fair to expect him to be capable of filling a similar role of Joel Anthony previously.
Not the best night for Langston, but he's just getting his misses out of the way while they don't count I'm sure. He scored no points on 0 for 9 shooting, but I will still give him credit for not being afraid to fire from deep which was still a problem for a lot of the team. He missed a few bunny layups which was frustrating, but that isn't his game. I will be interested to see how they use him as a 2 guard, since his lack of slashing/finishing really hinders his ability to be overly effective as a point guard. He does look like he is kind of a menace on defense still though which I very much like.
TOLLY HAS RETURNED. He scored 13 points on 8 equivalents, going 1 of 3 from deep and doing some work off of cuts and even a post up. He showed more comfort last year with doing some stuff closer to the hoop and it showed tonight. Tolly just makes winning plays and that was evidenced tonight. Get the dude on the floor somehow please.
Let's start with the bad. He still looks comical on defense, and not just in the “He can't guard that guy” but in the “Does he even know there is a game going on around him right now?” kind of way. And the bad news is that SVG is going to be (rightfully) very reluctant to play him when it counts while making those kind of defense breaking mistakes. HOWEVA, Henry Ellenson can freaking ball on the other end. He finished the game with 16 points on 11 equivalents and a pair of assists in just 17 minutes. He can spot up, he can kill people putting it on the floor, he can pass, he can finish. Dude is THE complete package on offense, and I am almost ready to officially dub him as being a real asset going forwards. I just hope he can figure out some defensive stuff so SVG can play him.
Some scrubs played. I don't care.
I'm glad that SVG is getting a little bit funky with lineups in preseason and trying some stuff out but the Pistons have too many power forwards who should be on the floor. In the end, I still need to see Reggie play before my mind is put at ease, but so far so good.
What do you think? What did you see worth noting?