Ben Gordon on last season: 'It was just a mess'

Ben Gordon recently spoke with Grantland’s Jonathan Abrams, mostly about the lockout, but he also discussed the dysfunction of the Pistons last season:

Grantland: Last year was a tough year for the Pistons and the bottom hit with reports of players boycotting a shoot-around in protest of the former coach John Kuester. What’s the backstory behind that situation?

Gordon: “Last year, everything that possibly could have went wrong, went wrong. We had a lot of talent. There were a lot of issues in the front office, on the floor, with coaches, with players. It was just a mess. People from the outside looking in don’t realize how bad it was. It wasn’t conducive for playing basketball at a high level and it showed. It was pretty much what everybody saw. Some guys showed up to play. Some guys didn’t show up to play. Whatever point people were trying to prove by showing up or nothing showing up, those points were taken. Six guys showed up. Six guys played and a few other guys decided not to play that night. That was one of the uglier moments during the season. Moving forward, I don’t see that happening anymore. That was probably one of the lowest basketball moments I’ve ever been a part of. Because we’re all a team and we all shared that negative light. Regardless of who played that night, it was bad. But moving forward, I think the emphasis will be much different.”

That’s … wow. Here was Brian Packey’s take at Detroit Bad Boys:

There’s a lot here, including the emphasis I’ve added. We (the ‘people from the outside looking in’) were let on to believe that it was all blown out of proportion by the damn media, although I don’t think anybody actually believed that. Gordon is saying it was actually worse.

I actually respect the directness of Gordon’s answer there. As Packey pointed out, all of the boycott comments at the time were of the ‘no big deal, these things happen in a locker room, guys are passionate, etc.’ variety. It would be nice if any of those statements were true, but I think it’s pretty clear now that new coach or not, the Pistons still have serious rifts in the locker room that will need to be fixed when the lockout ends.

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