Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores and Stan Van Gundy have mutually parted ways after working together for four seasons. The timing of the news is surprisig as it took almost four weeks for this decision to finally be made, giving this team a late start to finding a new team president and a new head coach. Gores says this was a difficult decision to make.
"I am grateful to Stan for everything he’s done for the Pistons and for the City of Detroit. He rebuilt the culture of our basketball team, re-instilled a winning attitude and work ethic, and took us to the playoffs two years ago. He went all-in from day one to positively impact this franchise and this community.
“But over the past two seasons our team has not progressed, and we decided that a change is necessary to regain our momentum,” Mr. Gores said, emphasizing that Mr. Van Gundy, who has a year remaining on his contract, wanted to return."
Van Gundy leaves this team with not much roster felxibility to add this off-season via free agency and even in this years draft with no first round pick, thanks to the Blake Griffin trade. The Pistons last three first round picks really helped solidfy Stan's fate as the team president with him clearly not drafting well and not being able to develop guys like Stanley Johnson and Henry Ellenson. Last year's first round pick Luke Kennard seems like a guy who could shoot from the 3 point line well but missing out on a player like Donovan Mitchell who was picked by the Jazz right after Kennard, shows Van Gundy couldn't find the best talent in the draft. Also, don't forget missing on Devin booker as well, who could have been another young franchise changing player this team needs.
This team played genuinely well when Reggie Jackson was healthy and in the lineup as they went 27-18 with him in the starting point guard spot but with him out of the lineup, the whole team just fell apart for a second season in a row. That ultimatley falls on Stan who clearly didn't have a backup plan with Jackson not in the lineup and should not be used as a free pass either. In this league, you have to be able to play through injuries and not go into full panic mode when a starting player goes down due to an injury, especially when its a reoccurring thing with a certain guy.
The team's next president and general manager will have they're hands full trying to figure out how to mesh Griffin, Drummond and Jackson all together for a full-season. Hopefully Stanley Johnson and Luke Kennard will take the next step in key developments and somehow trade away bad contracts like Jon Leuer or even Langston Galloway to help out with the cap space.
Let's hope this team has a better direction moving forward and not just go all-in on trades. It's time to start to really hitting on better players through the draft and actually build this team the right way. I'm not saying you have to "Trust The Process" like the 76ers and tank for many seasons. However, getting a potentially young superstar will do wonders for the Pistons in many years to come.
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