Detroit Pistons: It’s time to give Dwane Casey some credit

Head coach Dwane Casey of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Head coach Dwane Casey of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The Detroit Pistons are finally rebuilding and Troy Weaver has rightfully gotten a lot of credit for the various success stories. But it’s time to give Dwane Casey his due.

Weaver inherited Casey from the previous front office, so it was unclear if the veteran coach would be retained as the Pistons tried to usher in a new era.

Weaver decided to keep him and it made sense. Not only did the Pistons still owe the man a lot of money but Casey has a reputation as a hard-nosed coach with a knack for developing young talent.

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Casey remained the steady hand even after the roster started churning and a whole lot of new faces were added.

Now the Detroit Pistons are playing some of their best basketball in years behind a bunch of retreads and rookies and Dwane Casey deserves a lot of the credit.

Detroit Pistons: Dwane Casey gets the most from his talent

If you watched the Detroit Pistons defeat the New Orleans Pelicans the other night then you saw a tale of two teams.

One team (the Pelicans) is stacked with elite talent, including young stars Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram. They have veterans like Eric Bledsoe, J.J. Redick and Steven Adams and had playoff aspirations coming into the season.

But if you watched the game, you’d think the Pistons were the playoff contender, as they out-hustled and outworked the Pelicans all night.

While the Pistons were moving the ball, playing hard defense and standing up for each other, the Pelicans were loafing around, playing no defense and generally slacking on coach Stan Van Gundy.

Casey’s team has no reason to be playing this hard, yet they bring it every night rarely getting blown out even though they are in the midst of a rebuild and trying to tank.

This Pistons team plays too hard to tank it turns out, and Casey should be credited. The Detroit Pistons play hard for their coach every night and have never quit on him, which is a credit to the job he has done.

Detroit Pistons: The rookies and veterans are buying in

It’s not hard to get professionals like Mason Plumlee and Jerami Grant to do their job but Casey has the whole team buying-in on tough play and defense.

Rookies Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Stewart hustle all over the place and have clearly embraced Casey’s philosophy. The two are inspiring their teammates with their hard play and Bey just won Eastern Conference Player of the Week for his efforts.

Josh Jackson has found second life behind strong defense. Delon Wright and Wayne Ellington are locked in and look like trade assets since joining the Detroit Pistons.

Kudos to Troy Weaver for identifying these guys but Casey deserves a nod as well for getting them to buy in to what the Pistons are doing even though they aren’t likely going anywhere.

Detroit Pistons: Dwane Casey has helped change the culture

Dwane Casey has made it a point of making players “earn” minutes, especially the young guys and so far it has worked well.

This strategy motivated guys like Stewart and Bey and they have been rewarded for their defensive intensity.

Same with Jackson, who has struggled shooting at times but kept getting minutes because he was playing hard on the defensive end.

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He was in a tough spot with Blake Griffin because the team was trying to build his value but I thought Casey handled that well.

The Pistons did right by their former All-Star without hurting the youth movement or killing the good mojo they have going.

Dwane Casey won’t win Coach of the Year but he should get some consideration when you look at what he has done.

The Detroit Pistons’ culture is changing and Dwane Casey has been a big part of it.

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