Tom Gores wasn’t lying when he he told the media at Stan Van Gundy’s introductory press conference Thursday that he and the organization faced their most important decision since taking over ownership of the Detroit Pistons.
For better or worse, that decision has turned into a defining moment in the history of the franchise.
If the media and fan’s introduction to Stan Van Gundy is any indication of what the future is, than there is a good chance that the Pistons are back on track towards their winning ways.
Van Gundy was honest and open with the media. He impressed with his ability to answer questions not only fluently but with honesty.
When he was asked about the issues on the current roster, he laid it out there.
Josh Smith is no longer going to be an experiment at small forward.
Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond are the cornerstones to a winning future and the only way the Pistons have a chance at competing right away.
SVG made it clear that his job though is not about acquiring talent. It’s about assembling a team that plays with the same type of synergy that is expected in the front office and from the coaching staff.
Even more important is that anyone that doesn’t buy into that philosophy will quickly find a one way ticket out of dodge.
For the first time in ages there’s a feeling in the air that actions will be louder than words.
Gores and Van Gundy have a plan in place that has been proven to work in the NBA. Their trying to follow a mold that has been perfected by Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs. They’re walking down the same path that the Clippers did at the beginning of the season when they put their faith in Doc Rivers. Miami has become the most successful franchise in sports based on the same model.
“The allure of power really doesn’t have anything to do with it,” said Van Gundy Thursday. “You want the conditions that allow you to be successful. It has nothing to do with power. One of the big problems in our league right now is there is not a great connection between front offices in coaching. I don’t have to tell you where the situations are but you see it. This setup allows to create a tremendous synergy and a very unified organization where we are all on the same page.”
The fact of the matter is Detroit remains one of those organizations until they prove differently on the court.
Two Sides of the Coin
When a coach is 371-208 in the NBA, you know what you’re getting on the court night in and night out. Over the next few months though, Pistons fans will be able to get a feel for who Stan Van Gundy the team president is. Already we are starting to see him go to work.
Last night after all the media obligations at the Palace, Van Gundy jumped on a plane to Chicago to get to tomorrow’s coverage of the NBA Draft. He will join assistant general manager George David to not only discuss his future with the team, but also the many coveted draft prospects the Pistons could select with their projected 8th pick in the first round.
Knowing Van Gundy, he’s already got a list of potential second rounders too that he’d like to scout, prod, and decide whether they fit the Pistons mold.
Detroit has already talked with Michigan’s Nik Stauskas and Glenn Robinson III as well as Aussie point guard Dante Exum. They also plan to talk with Indiana center Noah Vonleh and Arizona forward Aaron Gordon. That leaves 13 more openings to talk to players on Friday.
Beyond that are looming decisions in free agency this summer. Van Gundy made it clear during Thursday’s press conference that he’d like to bring back restricted free agent Greg Monroe. Van Gundy said during the announcement of his hiring that he had already reached out to David Falk to let he and Monroe know how valuable Van Gundy and the Pistons believe he is.
There will also be plenty of opportunity to shop forward Josh Smith around the league. Despite his monstrous contract, there could be suitors that would be willing to take him for the right price. It might mean taking on another bad contract, but that’s the price you pay. Earlier in the process, it seemed like the Pistons weren’t willing to take on a player with a bad contract just to dump salary. If SVG doesn’t like the fit, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them make that type of swap.
For giggles, some bad perimeter contracts out there include Pelicans guards Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon. Pistons Palace explored the option of trading Smith to the Celtics about two weeks ago. Gerald Wallace, who has an atrocious contract makes a lot more sense in any deal with the Pistons now. Though he rarely ever flashes the talent of his yesteryear, he plays and leads with a mentality that could appeal to Van Gundy as a coach. The former Net and Trail Blazer will make just over 10 million a year the next two season, while Smith is slated to make 13.5 million the next three seasons.
On the flip side of things, Van Gundy could also be busy getting back into the swing of things as a head coach. After missing two seasons, it’s very possible that one of the best coaches in the league might be on display as the Pistons lead man during the Summer League.
A lot of questions surround the future of the Pistons.
Yet fans should feel relief knowing that the franchise that they root for is making an attempt to be one of the top franchises in the association.