NBA talk about Detroit Pistons all good: That is big

MIAMI, FLORIDA - JANUARY 18: Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat and Mason Plumlee #24 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FLORIDA - JANUARY 18: Bam Adebayo #13 of the Miami Heat and Mason Plumlee #24 of the Detroit Pistons (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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dwane casey detroit pistons
Detroit Pistons head coach Dwane Casey in a time out with his team.Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Pistons did the little things right, and that is a big deal

While letting go of Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin were probably the biggest personnel moves the Detroit Pistons made this year, there were some other things they did that will put them in a positive light when NBA players talk about different organizations.

Tanking the right way

The last game the Detroit Pistons won was a 100-84 victory over the Atlanta Hawks, who ended up the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Not a bad win.

After that, with one exception, Detroit went mostly with young players. If you were over 25, you did not play.

Related Story. A tale of two Detroit Pistons lineups. light

But, significantly, the organization did not leave the kids hung out to dry. Detroit’s worst loss would be19 points the rest of the year.

While other teams (Oklahoma CIty) were sending home top players, and other teams (Oklahoma City) were losing games by embarrassing margins, the Pistons made sure they were at least competitive.

If some of the younger players were really injured, they would have a vet un-mothballed and take their place. That nicety came back to bite them on May 7, when Detroit beat the Memphis Grizzlies thanks to the play of veteran guards Wayne Ellington and Cory Joseph.

That left the Pistons perilously close to falling out of the bottom three in the standings, and the best draft lottery odds.

Detroit did not win again, but they also still protected the youngsters from playing with funky lineups that would not help their development. Against the Philadelphia 76ers, the Pistons actually rolled out their regular lineup. Unfortunately, Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee etc. were so rusty, it did not help much.

Even in their season finale, Joseph played because Detroit was short on guards, even though a win would have had bad consequences for the lottery (a 32-13 Miami first period ended any of those problems quickly, though).

But even in a tank, the veterans did see some time, and all the young players gained experience without being overwhelmed. Good NBA talk on this.

Coach Dwane Casey given extension

Have you read the story ‘Players rip Coach Casey’? Neither have I.

Whether Dwane Casey is a good coach or not gets endlessly discussed on Pistons Twitter. But, among players, he is well-liked and respected. Pistons players from this season like Delon Wright (since traded) and Cory Joseph have talked about how glad they were to be back playing for Casey, after being with him in previous stops.

So when Casey was given a one-year contract extension (to the year 2024), it was a sign of continuity to those within the team, and a signal to those considering Detroit as a destination:

‘You like Coach Casey, well he is not going anywhere.’

That will generate more positive NBA playoff chatter.


The most important factor to where a player wants to go is: money, chance to win, money, coaching, money, city, money and who they are playing with … and, oh yeah, money.

But some players do care about what kind of organization they are working for. Jerami Grant has stated  the fact the Pistons had a Black general manager and coach was a factor in his coming here.

It might not have been to help lure players, but the Pistons have been very good about inclusion and diversity in their organization.

Besides Weaver and Casey on the basketball side, Detroit also employs a large number of women on the business and media side. The team also does a lot in the Detroit community, being quite active during the COVID-19 crisis and encouraging people to vote during last year’s election.

WIll all of this convince a player to take $2 million less a year on a contract? Maybe not. But it does create more positive NBA player chatter.

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Reputations in the NBA can make or break an organization. Through it moves this past season, the Detroit Pistons are seen as a team on the rise, and a good place to play.

Let us see if this pays off for the Pistons in the future.