Stan Van Gundy drops some hard truths about the Detroit Pistons' core

Detroit Pistons v Chicago Bulls
Detroit Pistons v Chicago Bulls / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

One of the biggest questions hanging over the Detroit Pistons is which of their young players they should be building around. 

The Pistons tanked for three straight seasons (and this year accidentally) hoping to land elite talent in the draft and it’s still debatable if they have. 

What isn’t debatable is this current strategy isn’t working, as no team has ever been good when all of their top players are 22 years old or younger. The draft is a crapshoot. Even in the top five, you’re lucky to find a star and just as likely to get a role player or guy who never makes it as a player you can build a team around. 

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That may be the case with the Detroit Pistons according to former head coach Stan Van Gundy, who dropped some harsh but fair truths about the young core in the Motor City on a recent episode of the Restore the Floor podcast. 

Stan Van Gundy tells it like it is about the Detroit Pistons 

SVG has never been shy about voicing his opinion, which was the case on a recent podcast appearance when he had this to say about the “core” the Pistons are allegedly building around: 

"It’s clear it’s not the best young core in the league or even one of the top two or three - So you’re gonna have to supplement it as you go along. I think they’ve got other good pieces. (Jalen) Duren is a very good rebounder, (Ausar) Thompson can defend, I personally really like Marcus Sasser, Jaden Ivey I like. But those guys are all either low-level starters, fourth or fifth starters, or rotation pieces. They need two other guys, at least, to put with Cade Cunningham to have a chance to get better."

I not only agree with SVG, but it’s something I’ve been screaming for the last year. The Pistons have exactly one player who is a surefire starter on a good team, the rest are either pending or will likely top out at good role players or lower level starters.

Before this season, you could argue that the Pistons had a top 3-4 young core in the NBA, but now I’m not so sure, as OKC, Houston, Orlando, Indiana and San Antonio have all surpassed them, and that’s just off the top of my head. 

Not every player you draft is going to be a star and some may take years to develop to that level, which is why building a team entirely out of players you draft who are pretty much the same age has never been a winning strategy. Eventually you have to choose 1-2 of them to build around and either move the others into different roles or trade them for players who are better fits. 

The Detroit Pistons can’t just keep drafting teenagers and hoping one of them blossoms into a star, they need to be proactive in using some of that young talent to bring in more experienced players, even if that means taking a risk (financial or otherwise) or taking on players who may not have the “upside” but have proven NBA skills.