Stan Van Gundy: Pistons ‘need to tweak some things’ with roster, no need for major moves

Apr 10, 2017; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy reacts during the fourth quarter against the Washington Wizards at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 10, 2017; Auburn Hills, MI, USA; Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy reacts during the fourth quarter against the Washington Wizards at The Palace of Auburn Hills. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports /

Despite having a disappointing 37-45 finish to their campaign, Detroit Pistons head coach and president Stan Van Gundy does not believe he needs to start from scratch just yet.

During the team’s press conference Friday, Detroit Pistons head coach and president of basketball operations Stan Van Gundy told reporters that while he was disappointed with the result of this season, he is looking forward to the team’s future and its young player core.

Per the Detroit News:

"“It was a disappointment; we’d be lying if we said anything else,” Van Gundy said. “I don’t think it’s the end of our process or a final verdict on our team. We’re still moving forward and we have young guys.“We didn’t make the progress we wanted to make this year, but I still like the core of our guys and we have the makings of a good basketball team. We’ve got to come back and have a better year.”"

Detroit struggled to gain momentum offensively throughout the season, finishing with the third-worst three-point field goal percentage in the NBA as well as the seventh-worst percentage from inside the arc, according to They also had the league’s 27th-best effective field goal percentage at a rate of 49.2 percent.

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This follows a good 2015-16 season which saw the Pistons win 44 games. Big man Andre Drummond and point guard Reggie Jackson both became the team’s top players with each having breakout seasons. Drummond made the All-Star Game that season.

The Pistons went on to be the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. They were swept by the eventual-NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers.

Overall, the Pistons went from the league’s 13th-most efficient offense in 2015-16 to the 26th-best this year.

Van Gundy took the blame for those issues during the press conference, telling the media he plans to “spice up the offense” to create better shots and get more players involved:

"“We had virtually an entire roster other than (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) that took a step back in that area this year,” said Van Gundy. “They can all get back to where their career numbers are — and in some cases, even above that.”"

He also noted the offense had been built to run through point guard Reggie Jackson’s pick-and-roll abilities.

Unfortunately for Detroit, Jackson was diagnosed with knee tendinosis, a chronic form of knee tendinitis, during the preseason. He soon was given platelet-rich plasma injection treatments to help the recovery process, causing him to miss the first 21 games of the regular season.

When Jackson returned however, he struggled. He went on to appear in just 52 games, Jackson’s least in a season since his rookie campaign in 2011-12. He saw his points per game, assists per game, rebounds per game, shots per game and field goal percentage all decline this year compared to last. He was eventually shut down by Van Gundy on April 7.

Jackson had previously suffered from similar injuries while with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Related Story: The impact of Reggie Jackson’s knee injury

Van Gundy saw flashes of Jackson’s old self during a late-season practice in Houston.

Per the Oakland Press:

"“We were working pick-and-roll defense, and we put Reggie in the James Harden role, so he had the ball every possession it was great play for a player, it was great he didn’t play any defense. He got to be offense the whole time,’’ Van Gundy said. “We went out there for 45 minutes and he was unbelievable, guys were loving playing with him, everything was to the rim and throw it out for threes, all the stuff he was able to do but really focused on just attack, attack, attack and make plays.“To a man, everybody on our coaching staff came out of that practice saying, ‘Whoa.’ He was unbelievable. … I don’t have much doubt that he’ll be back to being that guy. As I said to him, I honestly believe he’ll be better.”"

Van Gundy said he also feels the Pistons never had to core group of players he had in mind for them to produce this season. With Jackson being healthy, he feels the team can get back to where it needs to be:

"“I think we need to tweak some things with our roster, but I don’t think we’re far off base,” Van Gundy said. “We’ve built a pretty good roster and obviously we were really built around Reggie’s pick-and-roll abilities. We had 30 games he didn’t play in — and I don’t think he was ever at full strength.“He can get back there — in fact I’m really confident he can get back there. The roster was put together with one group in mind and we really didn’t have that.”"

Van Gundy, who finished his third season with the Pistons, said he feels his team does not need to make “bombshell move” this offseason. He explained that it is harder to make that type of move, let alone guarantee he would.

The team could be dealing with some tough decisions due to little cap space, including possibly losing restricted free agents Caldwell-Pope and Reggie Bullock as well as unrestricted free agent Aron Baynes to the open market:

"“There’s a couple things we’d like to do and make us a little bit better but I don’t think we’re broken,” Van Gundy said. “Getting our point guard situation back to where it was or even better is more than feasible and corrects a great deal of the problems we’re talking about. Our roster is pretty good from there.”"

Next: The curious case of Andre Drummond

With the Pistons missing the playoffs this season, Van Gundy is now left with a lot more questions compared to answers for the direction of his franchise. Only time will tell what hard decisions the Pistons decide to make in the summer.