The Washington Wizards continue their preseason schedule on Wednesday night at the Detroit Pistons. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. on Monumental Sports Network.
Here are three things to watch...
Last NBA dress rehearsal
This isn't the final preseason game for the Wizards, but it is their last one against NBA competition, as on Friday they will close out their exhibition schedule against the Guangzhou Long-Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association. No offense to the Long-Lions, but if head coach Scott Brooks wants to test out his lineups with a true barometer of what to expect in the regular season, this is the time. Friday's game will likely be an opportunity for a lot of the younger guys who haven't played much so far to get an extended look.
Unfortunately, Brooks still can't get deploy Dwight Howard, as the center remains out with a buttocks injury. Howard, in fact, is in real jeopardy to be ready for opening night in eight days. For once, the preseason seems too short for the Wizards.
There are other combinations Brooks will probably continue to test out like his three-guard lineup with John Wall, Bradley Beal and Austin Rivers. Maybe he will go super small again with Jeff Green at the five. Markieff Morris will probably see some time there as well, though Ian Mahinmi has done plenty to lock up the starting job in the case Howard can't go.
Will Meeks or Allen play?
Through three preseason games, two veteran players have been noticeably absent. Both Jodie Meeks and LaVoy Allen have yet to appear in a game, despite their combined 15 years of NBA experience.
Meeks not playing probably tells us something about how the Wizards view his chances to contribute this season. The 31-year-old is set to serve a 19-game suspension to begin the year for performance-enhancing drugs, and will be on the outside of the rotation looking in anyways with the addition of Austin Rivers. Still, he is expected to have a roster spot.
Allen is looking to make an NBA comeback after not playing at all last year, but on paper entering training camp it seemed he would have a decent shot at competing for the 15th and final roster spot. Not playing through three games certainly shifts the expectation there.
Will the Pistons be good?
Though LeBron James' departure has seemingly created an opening in the Eastern Conference, the hierarchy remains relatively clear in that the top teams are likely to be some combination of the Celtics, Raptors, Sixers, Wizards, Pacers and Bucks. One team trying to disrupt those expectations is the Pistons.
This offseason they hired Dwane Casey and added a slew of veterans to their bench. They also kept the team they renovated on the fly last season largely intact, meaning Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond remain their core two players.
The preseason only tells us so much, but Wednesday should give us a solid glimpse at the depth Detroit will offer this season. We will get to see how their young players like Luke Kennard, Henry Ellenson and Stanley Johnson are coming around.
Also, keep an eye out for Khyri Thomas. They took him in the second round of the draft in June, but he was at one point a first round grade and offers intriguing upside, particularly on the defensive end.
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