OK, so this is probably the Media Day post everyone will be most interested in. The Pistons crowded perimeter, featuring a collection of former All-Stars (Tracy McGrady, Rip Hamilton), a young scoring machine (Ben Gordon), a steady and consistent veteran starter (Tayshaun Prince) and a promising young player who needs minutes (Austin Daye), was a huge topic of discussion before McGrady was even added to the mix.
If one thing was clear after players met with the media, it was this: all eyes are on John Kuester.
For his part, Kuester stuck to the coach-speak talking points: minutes will be earned in training camp.
“Every day we’ll compete, and we’ll recognize through that competition who’s had the summer that has put them in a position to really elevate their game,” Kuester said. “We’ll see come tomorrow or the next couple practices what kind of shape they’re in.”
That quote is great, of course, in theory. It’s what every team wants from their coach: hold people accountable, let the hardest-working, best players earn spots and send a message that there is a philosophy and discipline in place that this team will abide by. NBA fans, however, know that this doesn’t always materialize.
The Pistons have two veterans who have been major contributors to winning teams. They have another veteran who, at one time, was one of the three or four best players in this league. They have another young veteran who’s fought his whole career that he’s not just a scoring option off the bench and he signed in Detroit looking for the opportunity to be placed in a bigger role.
That’s a lot for any coach to manage. And the players expect exactly that. Kuester has to sort this out, and they are all watching with interest:
“It’s not really up to me. Coach, he’s gonna have a good time. When you’ve got a lot of special guys at a position that can put the ball in the basket and you can put them on the floor and do special things, that’s a good thing for a coach.”
“Did you ask coach that question (how the minutes will be distributed)? (smiles and shrugs shoulders). I don’t know. I’m just here to play. Everything else like that is not up to me and my opinion doesn’t really matter.”
“It’s gonna be interesting. Coach’s job is hard. What’s neat about it is we have an opportunity to compete against each other. We have so much talent on the wing, that guys will be excited to go into training camp and test each other.”
This isn’t really anything ground-breaking. The perimeter storyline has been an obvious one. But how Kuester manages both the minutes and the egos involved could very well be the major determining factor in how this season plays out.