Reggie Jackson finally gets to walk the walk after talking the talk. After saying all the right things to the media following his move from Oklahoma City, he now has the chance to show what he can do. Instead of bench cheerleading in a suit, he will be leading the Pistons against another premier point guard in John Wall, two days after rookie Spencer Dinwiddie did a remarkable job against former MVP Derrick Rose.
Expect a big crowd at this game, as there are several factors which lead to increased atmosphere. The fact that it's a matinee should encourage families and casual fans, and the intrigue of a new player eager to prove his mettle usually tips those at 50-50 over the edge to attend the game. Considering 19,053 attended the Chicago game, with a depleted roster (albeit there was a large faction of Bulls supporters), I wouldn't be too surprised if that figure was matched considering the extra mystery with Jackson. It should be a fun one.
Where: Palace of Auburn Hills
When: Sunday, Feb. 22, 2015, 3:30PM EST
Exceptionally Detailed Analysis
After only dressing 10 players against the Chicago Bulls, the Pistons get some degree of depth back for the Wizards' visit. Not only will Reggie Jackson definitely start the game as mentioned by Van Gundy, but Quincy Miller, signed on a 10-day deal from the Reno Bighorns, will also be part of the rotation. Miller has gone through a practice with Reggie Jackson and his new teammates and was even on the bench at the Chicago game. That said...
Quincy Miller will be available for Pistons Sunday but SVG doesn't expect to use him— Brendan Savage (@BrendanSavage) February 21, 2015
As someone who is only signed to a 10-day deal, holding him out of one of his very few chances to impress seems to me that Van Gundy may already like what he sees and be considering signing him for the rest of the season, and just play the matchups.
The Pistons produced a stirring display Friday night against a full-strength Bulls squad to pull off a 100-91 upset victory. In a game which many considered a car crash waiting to happen, considering that Spencer Dinwiddie and John Lucas III were going to be matched up with Derrick Rose, the rookie from Colorado outshined his former MVP counterpart, finishing with 12 points and 9 assists opposite 2 turnovers. Rose, on the other hand, only had 8 points and 2 assists against 6 turnovers. There was balanced scoring and good contributions all around though, as both Caron Butler (his first start) and Greg Monroe led the Pistons with 20 points, and Andre Drummond contributed a measly 18 points and 20 rebounds (his 13th 20+ rebound game of his career). Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 12 points, and Reggie Jackson chipped in with 25 brownie points for his enthusiasm in cheering on his teammates.
The Wizards come into this game after being blown out by the Cleveland Cavaliers in DC on Friday, 127-89. It was not a pretty performance, and the Wizards looked flat coming out after half time, perhaps due to fatigue and lack of match fitness following the All-Star break. John Wall had a fine outing as usual, scoring 18 points to go along with 9 assists and 5 rebounds, while Nene also added 18 points. The Wizards miss Bradley Beal, who is again out with a stress reaction, this one a mild one in his right fibula. They've been forced to start with Otto Porter Jr. lately, and he considerably weakens their backcourt rotation when he starts, because it means that guys like Garrett Temple and Martell Webster anchor the bench unit (Webster has been injured a large portion of the year and missed the first 28 games of the season after getting surgery for a herniated disc in his back). The addition of Ramon Sessions should help shore up the rotation and provide a mobile back up point guard to spell John Wall for 10-15 minutes a night, but Sessions is hardly anything spectacular, not that you have to be to be an upgrade on the nearly fossilised Andre Miller.
Players To Watch
Pistons: Reggie Jackson
Finally, the RJE begins in earnest. Jackson has 27 games to prove to fans in Detroit and the management that his starter averages from earlier in the season were no fluke and he is deserving of that fat contract he wants. It could go one of two ways. One, he performs well under the motivation, leads the team to the playoffs and re-signs. Two, the pressure gets to him a little bit and he under-performs, and the Pistons simply let him walk in RFA or sign-and-trade him. It is a relatively risk-free move for the short term, so let's see if it reaps dividends.
Wizards: John Wall
It's always a fun time watching John Wall play. After struggling initially in his career in the association, he has developed into a perennial All-Star with lightning speed, unmatched athleticism and an extra-sensory perception of the court. His shooting still needs to be improved upon, but that's a minor blot on an otherwise flawless copybook. Wall stated during the All-Star break to reporters and media that the game slowed down for him "in his third year" which was 2012-13. He was injured for portions of that season, and was forced to learn from the sidelines, and he credits that with helping his evolution into one of the game's most feared guards.
Last Time We Met
Nov. 12 2014, Wizards won 107-103 (season series 1-0 WAS)
Brandon Jennings had one of his better games in the Josh-Smith era in this outing, finishing with 32 points, 10 assists and 1 pair of pants pulled down when he faked out Rasual Butler with a behind the back doozy. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored a then season-high 20 points and Professor Moose added 18 points and 9 rebounds. John Wall led the Wizards with 27 points and 11 assists.
-- Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy coached Wizards C Marcin Gortat from 2007-10.
-- Pistons G Brandon Jennings and Wizards F Drew Gooden played for the Milwaukee Bucks from 2010-13.
-- Pistons C Joel Anthony played part of the 2013-14 season with Wizards F Kris Humphries for the Boston Celtics.
-- Pistons F Caron Butler played for the Wizards from 2005-2010.
-- Butler and Wizards F Rasual Butler played together for the Miami Heat from 2002-04.
-- Pistons F Anthony Tolliver played with Wizards F Martell Webster for the Minnesota Timberwolves from 2010-12.
-- Pistons C Andre Drummond and Wizards G Bradley Beal played for the 2009 U16 and 2010 U17 USA National teams that won two gold medals.
-- Pistons F Cartier Martin played for the Wizards in 2010-11 and 2012-13.
-- Wizards assistant coaches Don Zierden (2005-07), Pat Sullivan (2003-05, 2008-11) and Roy Rogers (2011-13) all served as assistant coaches in Detroit
I predicted a win against the Bulls, rather sarcastically, but still. So I'm going to say that the RJE begins with a promising start.
Pistons 97, Wizards 90
Pistons: Jackson, Caldwell-Pope, Butler, Monroe, Drummond
Wizards: Wall, Porter Jr, Pierce, Nene, Gortat
Pistons: Jennings (Achilles), Miller (preparation), Prince (just reporting to team)
Wizards: Beal (fibula), Seraphin (flu)
What is your prediction for Reggie Jackson's first stat line as a Piston?