Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond and Josh Smith shine (at times, at least) in season-opening win over Wizards

Washington Wizards 102 Final
Recap | Box Score
113 Detroit Pistons
Josh Smith, SF 40 MIN | 8-12 FG | 0-0 FT | 5 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 19 PTS | +13I love: Smith shooting 5-for-5 on 2-pointers, all of them at the rim. I like: Smith playing point forward and setting up his teammates, Smith’s defense tonight, Smith shooting 3-of-7 on 3-pointers. I can live with: Smith turning the ball over four times when he’s so eager to create for others. I can’t stand: a couple of Smith 3-point attempts, which were really forced.
Andre Drummond, C 26 MIN | 6-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 12 PTS | +4Playing 17:43 in the first half, Drummond had 10 points, eight rebounds and one foul. He was an absolute beast on the glass and uses his quick hops to dunk whenever he got the ball near the rim. He didn’t excel individually defensively, but he moved well around the floor and bothered the Wizards in several areas of the court. It seemed, at times, they didn’t want to challenge him. Playing 8:35 in the second half, Drummond had two points, zero rebounds and four fouls. I don’t know whether he got tired, but the Pistons can’t afford to have him foul so much. They need him on the court more.
Greg Monroe, C 41 MIN | 6-15 FG | 12-15 FT | 16 REB | 3 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 5 TO | 24 PTS | +8Following a Josh Smith turnover to open the game, Monroe had turnovers on the Pistons’ second and third possessions. After that: 24 points, 16 rebounds, three assists and two turnovers. He’s been a near All-Star the last two years, and he’s already making his case this season. The Wizards had little answer for him and had to keep fouling him.
Chauncey Billups, PG 31 MIN | 4-8 FG | 4-4 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 16 PTS | +6Billups was the perfect steadying force for the Pistons’ offense, making 4-of-5 3-pointers to go with five assists and only one turnover. Giving Smith such a prominent role comes with the risk of ugly stretches, and Billups is a great foil to the higher-potential but more-erratic Smith-led offense.
Will Bynum, PG 38 MIN | 7-13 FG | 4-6 FT | 1 REB | 5 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 4 TO | 19 PTS | +9Bynum scored well early and scored well late, but he forced a couple unnecessary long 2s just as the Wizards began their comeback in the second half. It seemed Bynum just wanted to take a short break from working hard for a good shot. Then, John Wall started to give him trouble on both ends. I understand Bynum’s struggles against Wall, a better player. But the Pistons can’t just waste possessions on bad shots because they’re content with a double-digit lead. Overall, though, Bynum played well, if not a little sloppy.
Tony Mitchell, PF 0 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0Made a brief and meaningless cameo late as Maurice Cheeks stuck to an eight-man rotation.
Jonas Jerebko, PF 8 MIN | 2-5 FG | 2-3 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | 0Uneven play and didn’t get much burn. Did Cheeks stretch a seven-man rotation to eight to give Jerebko spot minutes? Did Jerebko’s play lead to a reduced role? Did Cheeks plan all along to play Jerebko just a few minutes?
Kyle Singler, SF 27 MIN | 2-6 FG | 3-3 FT | 8 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | +8Cheeks’ pet took five 3-pointers, all from the corner. So, good news: Maybe Cheeks doesn’t hate that shot anymore. Bad news: Singler made only one of them tonight. In the long run, making those shots will be his role. Tonight, though, he rebounded well for his position and had a nice and-1 on a drive to the basket.
Peyton Siva, PG 0 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0Made a brief and meaningless cameo late as Cheeks stuck to an eight-man rotation.
Luigi Datome, SF 0 MIN | 0-0 FG | 0-0 FT | 0 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | 0

Made a brief and meaningless cameo late as Cheeks stuck to an eight-man rotation. I was actually a little surprised Datome got in considering he missed so much time due to injury. If Cheeks just wanted to give his rookies a chance to get the debut monkeys off their backs, OK, nothing to see here. If he wanted to reward Mitchell and Siva for playing hard during the preseason, then why play Datome, too? Maybe he wanted to break the ice for Datome working his way into the rotation. Most likely, I’m reading too much into all this.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG 27 MIN | 4-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 9 PTS | +7Caldwell-Pope shot 0-for-7 outside the paint. On the bright side, he got into the lane, where he shot 4-for-5, and he defended with effort.
Maurice CheeksThink Cheeks wanted this win? With Brandon Jennings and Rodney Stuckey out due to injury, Cheeks didn’t chance his first Pistons games on players he didn’t deem worthy of playing. He just shortened the rotation. I loved the ball movement early, but I didn’t think he quashed bits of laziness quickly enough once the Pistons got up by double digits.

Tags: Andre Drummond Brandon Jennings Chauncey Billups Greg Monroe John Wall Jonas Jerebko Josh Smith Kentavious Caldwell-Pope Kyle Singler Luigi Datome Maurice Cheeks Peyton Siva Rodney Stuckey THN-WAS Tony Mitchell Washington Wizards Will Bynum

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