[D.C. Council: setting the scene, rating the starters, assessing the subs, providing the analysis, and catching anything that you may have missed. Unlike the real DC Council, everything here is on the table. Game No. 56, Washington Wizards vs Detroit Pistons; contributors: Rashad Mobley and Adam Rubin from the Verizon Center and Kyle Weidie from home.]
“Excuse me while I kiss the sky?”
“AHHH!!! All the retracted daggers in the world!!”
Here to provide the DC Council Opening Statements for Washington’s 24th game of the season against the Pistons in Detroit are TAI’s Kyle Weidie (@Truth_About_It) and guest Dan Feldman (@danfeld11), who is all over the interwebs but contributes here today as a writer for the ESPN TrueHoop blog Piston Powered (@PistonPowered).
Wizards Starters (3-20):
Shaun Livingston, Jordan Crawford, Martell Webster, Earl Barron, Emeka Okafor (Will Earl Barron start two games in a row? Stay tuned, Wizards fans…) NOTE: Bradley Beal is a game-time decision, and Nene is out with a cold/flu (that Jan Vesely likely gave him). News via @cmillscsm.
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.
[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?