Another day, another loss for the Washington Wizards, this time 99-94 to the Detroit Pistons… no biggie. At least they keep trying, I think. Here’s the reaction…
Greg Monroe had the MVP numbers (18 points and seven rebounds), and Tayshaun Prince (14 points) made pump fakes look like a Picasso against Wizards rookie Chris Singleton. But why not give the MVP to Ben Wallace? Washington coach Randy Wittman tried to play Hack-a-Wallace late in the fourth quarter when the game was close, but Gentle Ben went 5-for-6 from the line (5-for-10 on the night). All Wizards assistant coach Sam Cassell could do was chuckle from the bench.
Oh, Jordan. “If you in da D… Slide by the Palace of Auburn Hills tonight!,” Tweeted Jordan Crawford (@Jcraw55) at about 10:30 AM on the morning of Thursday night’s game. Hopefully his friends and family don’t start asking for refunds. A 2-for-13 effort from the field on this night makes him 4-for-25 in his hometown of Detroit on the season. Add Crawford’s 3-for-10 effort last season in Detroit, as a Wizard, and he’s 7-for-35 for his career in Motor City. The ‘check engine’ light is on…
When the Wizards last faced the Pistons in D.C., via TAI’s Adam McGinnis:
This has been quite a week for Coach John Calipari. On Monday night, his Kentucky Wildcats defeated the Kansas Jayhawks to win the NCAA championship. Yesterday, he emphatically declared that Kentucky was the best job in basketball coaching, and he has no intentions of leaving. Today, it was announced that his former All-American point guard (at Memphis), Derrick Rose, may finally play for the Chicago Bulls after nearly a month hiatus. Best of all, tonight Coach Cal can watch two more of his former point guards, John Wall and Brandon Knight, go head-to-head in the Palace of Auburn Hills. Per NBA.com’s David Aldridge, Coach Calipari could be watching his next team play in the Washington Wizards, but now we’re just getting ahead of ourselves. For tonight’s Wizards-Pistons 3-on-3, we have Vincent Goodwill (@vgoodwill) from the Detroit News, Patrick Hayes (@patrick_hayes) from the ESPN True Hoop blog, Piston Powered and Truth About It’s RashadMobley (@rashad20). Three questions, three answers starts now…
#1) Kentucky Coach John Calipari has given no public indication that he’s interested in leaving Kentucky for the NBA, but it would be shocking if he didn’t at least privately consider it. On a related note, it seems as if Anthony Davis will leave and be the consensus No. 1 pick, and barring something historic, the Pistons and the Wizards seem bound for the NBA lottery. Which situation would tempt Coach Calipari more? John Wall, Anthony Davis and the Wizards, or Brandon Knight, Anthony Davis, and the Pistons?
GOODWILL: I would think the Pistons because they seem closer to contention than the Wizards, along with Anthony Davis being the closest thing to a perfect complement to Greg Monroe that the Pistons could ever find. Knight, Monroe, Rodney Stuckey and Jonas Jerebko looks to be a solid foundation compared to Wall, Nene and…exactly. Also, Calipariwasn’t a complete disaster at New Jersey, taking them to the playoffs in 1998 but with full organizational control it was too much to handle. That’s not the case in Detroit, where although Joe Dumars has had some blemishes, he knows how to put together a championship core. Can the same be said for Ernie Grunfeld in D.C.? If he wants personnel control, I’d assume the Wizards would be the better choice. But if it comes down to roster and how close each team is to contending if you add Davis, it’s the Pistons and it’s not close.
HAYES: If we’re just limiting to those two players from each team, it’s definitely Wall-Davis. Knight has shown some flashes of good play, but nothing to suggest he has the franchise player ceiling Wall does. However, the fact that the Pistons have a potential All-Star big in Greg Monroe in the mix too and Cal’s guy, Worldwide Wes, has Detroit ties too, could maybe swing things in the Pistons’ favor. Fortunately, the Pistons seem pretty happy with Lawrence Frank, and they’ve become too cheap to pay coaches who would come with Calipari‘s asking price, so I don’t think they’ll have to worry about this scenario.
“Nene is a versatile player who will bring experience and a physical presence to our frontcourt. He is a strong rebounder, tough defender and a fierce competitor. His veteran leadership and postseason experience will be a positive influence in our locker room.”
“Nene is coming to us from a winning program. He has played in a system that we admire. It is up tempo and high scoring and he has good hands; runs the floor well; and is very strong. He is a team first kind of player. He is about winning and is a respected teammate. He is a family man; a player who is secure in who he is; and a player who has battled through adversity and is dependable and strong in spirit.”
That same March 15 NBA trade deadline day, Derek Fisher was unceremoniously traded from the Los Angeles Lakers to the Houston Rockets, had his contract bought out, and then signed with the Oklahoma City Thunder that next week. Thunder general manager Sam Presti spoke of Fisher providing intangibles and veteran leadership to Kevin Durant, rookie Reggie Jackson and Russell Westbrook. Fisher did not shy away from the role: Read more »
Due to work, I caught the last minute or so of Washington’s 97-95 loss to the Detroit Pistons on Monday night, giving me just enough glimpse of a close game that came down to a last second shot, in favor of Rodney Stuckey. And that’s how loss No. 255 during the lifetime of this TruthAboutIt.net Wizards blog (this season being the fifth) went down. TAI’s Rashad Mobley and John Converse Townsend were on-hand at the Verizon Center for his achievement. They now provide their reaction.
The last time Washington and Detroit faced each other in mid-February, two young centers led the way (JaVale McGee had 22 points and 11 rebounds, Greg Monroe had 27 points and six rebounds), but Washington held Detroit to a season-low 32.6-percent shooting and stole a win on the road, 98-77. McGee is now in Denver and the Wizards will start both Nene and Kevin Seraphin (Trevor Booker is out with knee tendinitis)… Wonder what changes now. To answer you Wizards-Pistons questions, we have Dan Feldman of the ESPN TrueHoop Pistons blog, Piston Powered, along with TAI’s Rashad Mobley and Kyle Weidie. Let’s do it…
#1) Ben Gordon is averaging just 12.6 points per game this year, which is a far cry from 20.6 he averaged in his final year in Chicago, and definitely not what the Pistons had in mind when they signed him to a 5-year, $55 million contract in 2009. Andray Blatche has started only 13 of the 26 games he played, he only averaged 8.5 points and 5.8 rebounds in those games, and he’s currently not playing because of “conditioning” (aka the Dirk Nowitzki system). The Wizards surely did not have this in mind when they gave him a 5-year, $35 million contract extension in 2010. Which team regrets their contract more?
FELDMAN: From a purely basketball standpoint, it has to be the Pistons, just because $55 million is greater than $35 million. But Gordon’s downfall has been due to, I think, never mentally recovering from an injury his first year in Detroit and a surprisingly sudden physical aging. Gordon has continued to act professionally and play hard, and that might make it more palatable to pay him $11 million per year rather than paying Blatche $7 million per year.
MOBLEY: The Wizards regret Blatche’s extension, but I do believe in dark, media-free rooms where Ernie Grunfeld and Ted Leonsis have cliché free discussions, they will admit that re-upping Andray was risky. Blatche’s stretches of excellence were limited, at best, at that time. Ben Gordon was coming off a 2008-09 season that saw him average 20.7 points during the regular season and 24.3 in the Bulls’ tightly-contested playoff lost to the Celtics. Gordon was expected to carry the Detroit franchise, and instead he’s been inconsistent, hesitant and without a playoff appearance.
Jan Vesely didn’t score the 100th point on Sunday, Washington ended up with just 98 in their win against the Pistons (77 points), but he did end up with the play of the night. We talked about people getting down on Vesely in a recent post, and it’s those people who need to keep their eyes on sequences like in the video above. Again, Vesely is already the best Wizards big man at defending the high pick-and-roll, even more evident in him getting the steal from Detroit’s Will Bynum. But the scene of Vesely’s ability to run the floor with Wall, them sharing with each other until Jan ends up with the dunk, is a sign of things to come from the Czech rookie. No, he’s not a dazzling stud of a 6th overall pick, but he could develop into a defensive player as solid as Joakim Noah, but perhaps more athletic. Now wouldn’t that be nice to have at that draft position?
[Remember when Gilbert Arenas made one of many returns to the court against the Pistons in March 2009 (one of two appearances for all of the 2008-09 season)? Sure you do.]
The Wizards kick off a five-game road trip in Detroit on this Sunday evening, with stops in Portland, Los Angeles (Clippers), Utah and Phoenix up next. For one, Detroit is Jordan Crawford’s home, so keep an eye on if he’s pressing too much or smelling the popcorn. But also, Washington is seeking their second road win on the season against the 8-20 Pistons to their 5-22 record; a Pistons team that also experienced championship-level success with former (Rasheed Wallace, Ben Wallace, Rip Hamilton, Darvin Ham), and future (Mike James, Flip Saunders) Wizards. Furthermore, John Wall and his Kentucky Wildcats freshman point guard successor, Brandon Knight, will face off for the first time. For today’s 3-on-3 we have Dan Feldman (@danfeld11) of the TrueHoop Network’s PistonPowered.com, along with TAI’s Adam McGinnis (@adammcginnis) and Sam Permutt (@sammyvert). Three questions, three answers starts now…
#1) Washington is tied with the Miami Heat in playing at the fifth fastest pace in the NBA (93.3 possessions per 48 minutes); Detroit plays at… the… slow… est… pace… in the league (87.7 possessions per 48). Which team’s style wins out and why?
[Blatche celebrates a close win over the Pistons.]
Andray Blatche. Yes, that Andray Blatche … Party All Dray. He’s been a little bit different lately, hasn’t he? Sure has. Averaging 25.6 points and 13.7 rebounds per 36 minutes in the last four games (up from his 17.4 and 8.7 respective averages per 36 for the season), since his return from injury is certainly a strong indication that things could be different for Blatche.
Straight and to the point, he’s been attacking the rim. Living in the paint. Doing the dirty work down low. All the good stuff the team has always needed Andray Blatche to do, but has never quite been satisfied.