Opponent Scouting: Washington Wizards. (11-10)
Tonight at 7:00pm EST the Pistons will be in the capitol to play against the Wizards. The Pistons are on one day of rest after destroying the Suns on Wednesday, while the Wizards are also on one day of rest after losing to the Sixers on Wednesday.
The Wizards have not lived up to expectations so far this year, but that is largely because they haven't been able to healthy and together all the way yet. Markieff Morris missed the first several games and they started to ease him back into significant playing time, then just as he was starting to really look settled in John Wall got hurt. Apparently Bradley Beal is also questionable tonight after cutting his face last game.
The Wizards sport the 9th best offensive efficiency in the NBA at 106.3, and the 14th best defensive efficiency at 104.1 for a net rating of 2.2 which is 11th in the NBA. Normally they are lead by the incredible John Wall, but he is out. Without him they become very reliant on Bradley Beal, and if Beal doesn't play they are going to be in serious trouble.
Beal is a great scorer who can do it from pretty much anywhere at any time and is stupid efficient while also being able to defend. Otto Porter may actually be almost worth the huge contract he signed this offseason scoring 16 points per game on incredible efficiency with 7.2 rebounds and good defense. Don't sleep on Otto Porter because he is really good. Markieff Morris is still kind of finding his footing but he is still a bruising defender and skilled offensively at his size. Marcin Gortat is still doing his thing as a much better version of Aron Baynes. Without Wall, Tim Frazier is starting, and while he might still turn it around he has been awful so far this year. Kelly Oubre is looking like he may have made a significant leap this year as he is still the super long and athletic defender he was last year, while also finding some real offensive skill, Mike Scott has actually been a nice addition to their team with some bounce and skill. Jodie Meeks has apparently forgotten how to shoot this year which is bizzare, Tomas Satoransky is a huge point guard, Ian Mahinmi has been absolutely terrible this year.
If Beal plays, then this team will have some real bite to it still. If Beal is out though they will be in real trouble. Regardless, they have some tough defenders and generally play pretty hard. No matter what this is not likely to be too much of a walkover even if being without Wall is a huge blow to them.
Matchups to watch:
Beal vs. Playing: Once again, if Beal is out this team suddenly does not have a lot of firepower offensively with their two best players out. He probably needs to play if the Wizards want to have a chance in this one.
Drummond vs. Gortat: Drummond is a lot better than Gortat, but Gortat is the right combination of smart and strong that he has given Drummond some trouble in the past. Drummond will have to be ready to work, if he is then it should be fine but if he tries to cut corners he could have trouble.
Stanley Johnson vs. Otto Porter: People don't believe this, but they need to start believeing. Otto Porter is really stinking good. Stanley Johnson will have his work cut out for him on both ends of the floor.
Bradley vs. Beal: Assuming Beal does play, the Avery Bradley will have a tough assignment. If Bradley can keep him under wraps though, then the Wizards will be in serious trouble.
Bench Mob vs. Unleashing: The Wizards bench is bad. Not quite as bad as last year, but still bad. The Pistons bench is good. When the bench mobs are out there it should be a big advantage for the Pistons.
So in conclusion...
Wink knowingly at your friends if:
Bradley Beal is out.
The Pistons bench goes on a 15-0 run.
The Pistons come out with the sort of defensive intensity they did against the Suns.
Run for the hills if:
By Gawd is that Jodie Meeks revenge game music?
Otto Porter shoots a lot. Dude doesn't miss much.
Gortat is giving Drummond trouble.
Opportunities for me to look stupid:
Otto Porter has a big game.
The Pistons bench>>>>>>Wizards bench.
If Beal doesn't play, this isn't close.
Pistons have a solid team effort on their way to a fairly comfortable win.
Pistons 108 – Wizards 100. (Less close if Beal is out.)
What do you think? Can the Pistons keep on rolling? Can Drummond get around Gortat?