Detroit Pistons: Dwane Casey and player development
Coaches of rebuilding teams not only have to worry about the present, but also the future, they have two things going at once.
Every coach wants to win, and that is the goal, but coach Casey will also be juggling the development of young players, trying to get them all minutes, and trying to identify which guys are part of the core moving forward.
He has to figure out how Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey fit, as well as juggle the other guards on the roster, as Killian Hayes’ team option has to be picked up in October, so the team needs to see plenty of him.
The team wants to get extended looks at guys like Hamidou Diallo and Kevin Knox, while trying to see how Saddiq Bey and Isaiah Livers might fit together.
They have five centers all trying to get minutes, so again, he’ll be juggling what’s best for the team (which may mean playing the veterans more) against trying to get minutes for 18-year-old Jalen Duren, the center of the future.
A coach’s natural instinct is to play the best guys and try to win, but when a team is rebuilding, that may not be the route you are asked to take, putting your own future job on the line in the process.
And after all of that rebuilding, Casey could be fired anyway, or will almost certainly be out of the picture one way or another by the time this team is any good. He has to plant trees under whose shade he will never sit, to paraphrase an old proverb.
There isn’t less pressure coaching a rebuild, it’s just different than the pressure coaches are under when their team is expected to win. It takes a unique personality to take on this kind of thankless job, and I don’t envy the task in front of coach Casey.