On a night when the Detroit Pistons were informed that they would be without their starting center in Andre Drummond, they still proved too much to handle, as they thumped the Sacramento Kings, 127-106. With Derrick Rose showcasing another All-Star level performance and Reggie Jackson making a dramatic return to the court, this game was both fun and exciting to watch. Check out our three observations from tonight’s game.
Christian Wood, “Mr. Efficient”
Christian Wood, the athletic and productive Piston center struck again tonight against the Sacramento Kings. The Pistons started the game off sluggish and constantly kept making turnovers that disrupted and impeded their attempts to build some momentum.
The moment that Wood touched the floor, he immediately became a lightning rod for efficiency on the offensive side of the ball for Detroit. Making all four of his field-goal attempts from the field and knocking down 6-8 free throw attempts in the first half. As the game continued, he still was being very careful and selective in his shot selection. He finished the game scoring 23 points and missing no shots, going 7-7 from the field.
And in typical Christian Wood fashion, he did it all with both flair and aggression. He woke up the sleepy crowd at Little Caesars Arena with his thunderous dunks on unsuspecting Sacramento King defenders.
Even though no one calls him “Mr. Efficient”, he is starting to live up to that moniker of being a productive player whenever given time on the floor. He makes the most out of his opportunity and that only benefits the Pistons. Especially when Wood brings the noise on defense, he can become a problem for any opposing team. I’m sure that everyone tonight was worried about who would handle the load at the center position with Andre Drummond out (lip laceration)—but Wood showed us tonight that he was more than prepared to carry the load.
Welcome Back, Reggie!!!
With the Pistons losing one of their active players to injury in Andre Drummond, Detroit gained a returning player in the form of Reggie Jackson. Last time, Reggie Jackson played in a game was on October 25th, 2019 against the Indiana Pacers. He has been sidelined since that time with back-related injury.
Tonight’s game would be the first time that Jackson would be back in almost three months. Coach Dwane Casey has steadily been providing the media with updated progress reports on the status of Jackson’s health, but everyone was still unsure how he would fair once he stepped on the court and competes against elite competition for the first time in almost three months. Normally, the team’s starting point guard, Jackson came off the bench tonight to spell Derrick Rose, and he played in the game as if he had never missed a beat.
He made his first made shot with his signature floater when penetrating the lane. He lead the team like the general he has been for Detroit and provided a calming presence at the point guard spot—a presence that was desperately needed given the less spectacular way the Pistons started the game.
Jackson was firing on all cylinders tonight, with a stat line of 22 points and 4 assists. Jackson appeared to be in cruise control tonight. He also was very efficient shooting the ball in his return, going 8-14 from the field, and 3-7 from three. It will be exciting to see how he continues to play as the season progresses. What will also be more exciting, will be how he performs sharing the court with Rose and Drummond when he returns to court. Maybe he can help spark a positive change for the team and help them start stringing some consecutive wins.
Derrick Rose is an All-Star
The 2019-20 season is a season that initially carried high expectations for a Detroit Pistons team that last year was in the playoffs against the Milwaukee Bucks. Unfortunately, due to injuries to several key important players, those hopes of reaching the playoffs again and advancing further in the postseason seem to be unlikely as the NBA season is nearing the All-Star break.
Some of the expectation was could Blake Griffin capitalize off his stellar All-Star season, last year?
Can Andre-Drummond finally hit that next tier in his game and perform consistently at an All-Star center level?
Can the Pistons win a playoff game and advance past the first round?
Except for Blake Griffin’s expectations, the other ones are still to be determined as the season continues to unfold. But the one thing that neither myself or probably the rest of the NBA world would suspect to happen…was that the former MVP Derrick Rose, would be a serious candidate for the 2020 All-Star Game.
Rose is a three-time former All-Star, who made his last appearance in an All-Star game back in 2012. If he were to be selected to participate this year, in his hometown of Chicago, IL, it would be the first time he has played in the annual event in over eight years. He has been the quiet leader for the team and has been one of few bright spots for the team during an underwhelming season. He is currently averaging 18.4 ppg and 5.4 apg. Upon entering tonight’s game, he had recorded nine straight games of 20+ points per game (tying the longest streak in his career since 2011). Tonight, he scored 22 points and dished out 11 assists. So make that 10 consecutive games.
Even when splitting time between the bench and the starting lineup, there aren’t too many guards in the Eastern Conference that can say that they are having a better season than Derrick Rose. Even with playing on minute restrictions to help manage his health and durability, not too many guards can say they are more productive than Rose, who is averaging 49.8% from the field, with a 22.08 efficiency rating. As of January 20th, 2020, Rose is ranked fourth among Eastern Conference guards with over 1.3 million votes. With that being said, Rose has traveled a long road and I’m confident that his journey will make a pitstop in his hometown of Chicago for the 2020 All-Star Game!
Featured Image: Chris Schwegler/NBAE via Getty Images