Richard Hamilton's return to rotation could make Tracy McGrady odd man out as Pistons host Wizards

Essentials

Teams: Washington Wizards at Detroit Pistons

Date: March 6,  2011

Time: 6 p.m.

Television: Fox Sports Detroit

Records

Pistons: 22-41

Wizards: 16-45

Probable starters

Pistons:

Wizards:

  • John Wall
  • Jordan Crawford Nick Young
  • Rashard Lewis Maurice Evans
  • Andray Blatche
  • JaVale McGee

Las Vegas projection

Spread: Pistons -4.5

Over/under: 201.5

Score: Pistons win, 103-98.5

Three things to watch

1. Tracy McGrady – from starting point guard to DNP-CDs

It seems Tracy McGrady himself is at a loss for his lack of playing time. Head Coach John Kuester’s rotation will go just 10 deep , meaning that McGrady might continue to be outside the playing rotation after not logging a single minute on the court in four straight games. And with Richard Hamilton’s return to the lineup this trend could very well continue.

This is a somewhat odd decision by Kuester since McGrady has been one of the team’s better players, but maybe there’s more going on behind the scenes. Either way, it’s a disappointing development for a player regarded as one of the few bright spots of this dismal season.

2. Pistons get first look at John Wall

John Wall, the number one pick of the 2010 NBA draft, was injured and did not play the first time these teams met back in late November. Wall is having a fantastic rookie season, although he’s been overlooked by the Clippers’ Blaker Griffin. He’s averaging 8.9 assists in his rookie season, which is something that only three other players have done in league history, including Oscar Robertson.

The two-time East Rookie of the Month will be a challenge for the Pistons as they have really struggled to defend young, big, super-athletic point guards this season. Wall is extremely fast and can cause a lot of damage with his dribble penetration, so expect to see Rodney Stuckey guarding him most of the game.

Detroit has defeated Washington six straight times at home and hopes to not be the team that gives the Wizards just their 2nd winning streak of the season and just second win on the road (NBA-worst 1-28 on the road).

3. If you’re going to lose, then lose big

While the Pistons are still technically alive in the playoff race, those dreams are all but over unless the team goes on a monumental run to end the season. Even if they did, is it worth it? Does Detroit want another repeat from 2009 when they were swept by the Cleveland Cavaliers by more than 15 points a game?

Experiencing the playoffs would be great for youngsters like Austin Daye and Greg Monroe. On the other hand, is it worth more to get that shot at the number one overall draft pick?

There is merit to both sides of the argument, but put me in the camp with Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. I don’t want to see the Pistons to continue to walk “the mediocrity treadmill.”

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