The Washington Wizards' NBA Preseason rematch against the Detroit Pistons could be an exciting one. Their first game on Thursday night saw Blake Griffin scuffle with Wizards center Thomas Bryant before the Pistons went on to win. Both sides will be competing to breach the playoff berths in the Eastern Conference this year after failing to do so last season.
Fixture: Washington Wizards vs Detroit Pistons - NBA Preseason Game
Date & Time: Saturday, December 19th, 2020 - 7 PM ET (Sunday, December 20th, 5:30 AM IST)
Venue: Capital One Arena, Detroit
The Washington Wizards already faced-off against the Detroit Pistons on Thursday night and it was the Pistons that came out victorious after a low-scoring game, winning 97-86.
Washington Wizards Preview
The Washington Wizards missed out on an Eastern Conference playoff berth last season, by a significant margin, despite finishing 9th. They were 8 wins behind the Orlando Magic and struggled throughout the year without talismanic guard John Wall.
During this year's offseason, however, Wall has been traded to the Houston Rockets in a swap deal for Russell Westbrook. The Wizards will be hoping the former MVP can help them return to the postseason in 2021.
The Washington Wizards leader Bradley Beal did his best to carry the franchise last year. The shooting guard averaged 30 points and 6 assists in what was a career-high season for the 27-year-old. In their first preseason game against the Detroit Pistons, Beal played a brief 16-minute cameo, while Westbrook sat the game out.
Key Player - Bradley Beal
As mentioned, Bradley Beal had a standout season in 2019-20 but was hampered by the absence of John Wall and the Wizards' poor defensive performance. With their offseason moves, the Washington Wizards shored up their defense and brought in superstar Russell Westbrook to replace Wall.
With the experience and ball-handling skills Westbrook possesses, Beal will be able to shine while not taking the added weight of running the Washington Wizards offense. Beal will be hoping to replicate if not better his performances of last year and put himself into the candidacy for MVP.
When Westbrook is inevitably rested for games, as he is doubtful to play back-to-back's, Beal will be relied upon even more so than he has been.
Washington Wizards' Predicted Lineup
G Bradley Beal, G Raul Neto, F Isaac Bonga, F Moritz Wagner, C Thomas Bryant
Detroit Pistons Preview
The Detroit Pistons had a disappointing season last year and will be hoping that their mass turnover during the offseason will yield results. Keeping Blake Griffin healthy and happy will be high on the agenda, especially if he is to re-sign next season when he can become a free agent.
The Detroit Pistons spent most of this year's offseason preparing to rebuild their roster for the future. The franchise replaced the assets they already had with some confusing choices. Luke Kennard and Christian Wood left while Jerami Grant was brought in. Mason Plumlee joined, although he is expected to see fewer minutes than those ahead of him in the rotation.
Only four players were left standing from last season's team, including veterans Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose. Killian Hayes was drafted by the Pistons as the 7th overall selection and is expected to feature heavily this year as the starting point guard, learning from Rose as a backup.
Key Player - Blake Griffin
The success of Detroit's season depends heavily on the fitness of Blake Griffin. Going into his third full year with the franchise, Griffin will be relied upon for the majority of the Piston's points.
The power forward played 75 games for Detroit in the 2018-19 season, in which he averaged a career-high 24.5 points to go with 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Last season, however, the Pistons sorely missed his All-Star capabilities after he missed most of the year through injury.
Griffin's minutes may be managed this year given how injury-prone he has become. Coach Dwayne Casey is also looking to give their young roster the minutes and experience they need to succeed in the future.
Although he may not be part of their long-term plan, the Detroit Pistons will need Griffin's scoring and rebounding ability if they are to come close to the playoffs. He will also prove invaluable as a mentor to the younger players.
Detroit Pistons Predicted Lineup
G Killian Hayes, G Delon Wright, F Blake Griffin, F Jermai Grant C Jahlil Okafor
Wizards vs Pistons Match Prediction
With busy offseasons for both sides, there is a lot of hope for improvements to be made on last year's showing. Hampered by injuries to key players, Washington Wizards and Detroit Pistons fans can be excited to go into the season with their main stars ready to go.
Although this is a preseason fixture, it will be a good indication as to what we can expect toward the lower end of the Eastern Conference playoff positions.
After winning the first tie, the Detroit Pistons will expect to win again on Saturday night especially with home-court advantage. Another prolific first half should see them rise above their Eastern rivals.
Where to watch Washington Wizards vs Detroit Pistons?
The game will be aired by NBC Sports Washington in America. International fans have the opportunity to stream the game on the NBA League Pass.Published 19 Dec 2020, 00:38 IST