During the pregame interview for Detroit’s season opener, Gregory Kelser asked Monty Williams what surprised him about the Detroit Pistons in training camp and the preseason. Williams gave a lot of positive affirmation.
One thing that stood out to the new coach was the level of competitiveness in scrimmages. According to Williams, scrimmages became so competitive he needed to step in and redirect.
With the Pistons’ young core, I’m not surprised. Guys are hungry and want to win. Channeling that hunger and reshaping it into winning basketball, attention to details, team-oriented plays, and making the right decision, that will be the job ahead of Williams.
There’s already a difference in the Detroit Pistons
We saw some of that on display in the first game. The ball moved well at times, and the Detroit Pistons looked to the paint to shrink Miami’s zone.
Just before tip-off, during a Pistons’ promo reel, we heard Detroit players discuss their goals for the upcoming season. Time and again we heard different players talk about how it would be hard. What they want to achieve will be “on the other side of hard.”
Monty Williams preached the same message during his tenure with the Phoenix Suns. In press conferences and interviews, Williams discussed how they knew it would be hard. What they wanted was “on the other side of hard.”
Phoenix players echoed their coach’s sentiment.
Unfortunately, the Williams era in Phoenix didn’t culminate in a championship. It did, however, culminate in a conference title, a massive turnaround from one year to the next, and, for the most part, excellent player development.
Williams’ players embraced the struggle and achieved at a high level in an exceptionally competitive league.
The Detroit Pistons appear to be doing the same.
Winning won’t come easy. What Williams, the players, and the fans want, namely competitive basketball that culminates in a championship, will be “on the other side of hard.”
Fortunately, it looks as though the Detroit Pistons have embraced that challenge and there was already a noticeable difference on defense.