The Washington Wizards host the Detroit Pistons in NBA pre-season 2020-21 action this Thursday. Both teams missed the playoffs last season and are hoping that the new decade will bode well for their future after the Wizards and Pistons made significant changes to their lineups.
With the season just a few days away, the Wizards and Pistons will be testing their revamped rosters to see which one did better in the offseason.
Fixture - Washington Wizards vs. Detroit Pistons | NBA Preseason
Date & Time - Thursday, December 17th, 7 PM ET (Wednesday, December 18th, 5:30 AM IST)
Location - Capital One Arena, Washington D.C.
Hosting the Detroit Pistons in the first of two matchups this preseason, the Washington Wizards will try to protect their homecourt beginning this Thursday. The Wizards made the bigger splash between the two as they traded John Wall to the Houston Rockets for Russell Westbrook.
Meanwhile, the Pistons gutted their roster this offseason to allow coach Dwane Casey to succeed with a different team from last season.
Washington Wizards Preview
In Washington, the John Wall era is over, and All-Star guard Bradley Beal has a new partner-in-crime in Russell Westbrook. This backcourt is arguably the most exciting to watch in the Eastern Conference.
But will they play against the Detroit Pistons on Thursday after they missed the preseason opener? That’s what fans are hoping to see, with the Washington Wizards expected to be the Eastern Conference’s surprise team this season.
Sophomore forward Rui Hachimura led the Wizards in scoring on Sunday in the team’s first 2020-21 preseason game. He notched 18 points versus the Brooklyn Nets, who had Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant on their roster. Hachimura could be a starter again for the Wizards this Thursday.
Rookie Deni Avdija made all six field goals he attempted - including all three 3-point shots - showing that he deserved to be picked No. 9 by the Washington Wizards in last month’s NBA Draft. He will be utilized on Thursday by coach Scott Brooks.
Key Player - Russell Westbrook
Washington Wizards guard Russell Westbrook will be playing for his third team in three years after tumultuous seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets. His partnership with Bradley Beal, in addition to how he can build a strong rapport with his new teammates, will be the focus this season.
The trade reunited the 2017 MVP with Brooks, his former coach in OKC. Brooks knows Westbrook well, and that understanding will be key to a successful season for the Washington Wizards.
Washington Wizards Predicted Lineup
G Russell Westbrook, G Bradley Beal, F Davis Bertans, F Rui Hachimura, C Thomas Bryant
Detroit Pistons Preview
The Detroit Pistons are bringing back only four players from last season - Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose, Sekou Doumboya, and Svi Mykhailiuk. They added Jerami Grant, who will take over the starting small forward position alongside Griffin. Rose will likely come off the bench once again this season.
Dwane Casey has a good mix of veterans and young players on his roster. They can compete at a high level on some nights, but they will be overmatched on others.
Against the Washington Wizards, the Detroit Pistons will try different combinations that they can use in the regular season. As long as Griffin and Rose are engaged, this will be a competitive matchup.
Key Player - Blake Griffin
Former All-Star forward Blake Griffin wants to bounce back from an injury-plagued season that limited him to only 18 games during the 2019-20 season. Once one of the league’s most explosive slam dunkers, Griffin has since relied on an improved outside shot to make up for losing much of his athleticism.
Since this is a preseason game, don’t expect Griffin to go all out, especially since he has missed a number of games due to injury in the past few seasons.
Griffin scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds in 23 minutes of playing time against the New York Knicks on Sunday. Casey may or may not play him for those many minutes this Thursday, but that is a good indication of how much he can coax out of the 31-year-old Griffin.
Detroit Pistons Predicted Lineup
G Killian Hayes, G Delon Wright, F Jerami Grant, F Blake Griffin, C Mason Plumlee
Wizards vs. Pistons Match Prediction
The Washington Wizards are fielding two All-Stars this season in former MVP Russell Westbrook and leading scorer Bradley Beal. Over on the Detroit Pistons side, their biggest stars are former All-Stars. However, they may not be on the roster for much longer, as they could be trade baits this season.
Detroit Pistons veterans Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose will attempt to play their best this campaign. But a preseason game will merely be a means to get in shape for the regular season.
The well-coached Washington Wizards will win this battle if Westbrook and Beal play. If they don’t, then this battle will go to the Detroit Pistons.
Where to Watch Wizards vs. Pistons?
The game will be covered locally by NBC Sports Washington on their live stream page as well as on the MyTeams app. The game can also be viewed via NBA League Pass.Published 16 Dec 2020, 22:37 IST