The Detroit Pistons and Stan Van Gundy have parted ways. This comes after a disappointing season where Detroit fell short of the playoffs (yet again). Over the four years he spent in the front office, the Pistons have routinely made questionable signings and draft choices. Many fans are wondering, will the Pistons ever be able to return to contention?
After making the playoffs in only his second season, the arrow was pointing up in the Motor City. However, injuries and poor development of a legitimate backcourt ultimately led to Van Gundy’s fate. A 44-win season and first round exit in the playoffs of his second season was the highlight of his stint in Detroit.
The roster under SVG has improved. The Pistons have two superstars, Andre Drummond and Blake Griffin leading the way. Yet, the team is strapped for salary cap space and needs a lot of luck in the upcoming Lottery to retain their top-4 protected pick from the Clippers (Blake Griffin trade). Big contracts were given to Reggie Jackson (5 years, $80 million), Jon Leuer (4 years, $42 million), and Boban Marjanovic (3 years, $21 million) and have not yielded the return expected.
His three first round picks are all still giant question marks who may or may not be part of the Pistons future. Stanley Johnson (2015 pick #8) has not produced to the level a Top 10 pick should. Henry Ellenson (2016 pick #18) has had little opportunity to show his talent during the regular season. Ellenson has shown flashes of brilliance as he dominated the Summer League last year. Luke Kennard (2017 pick #12) could still develop into a great shooter. However, Donovan Mitchell, the should-be Rookie of the Year, makes that pick look ridiculous.
Where will the Pistons turn to for help next? Perhaps a former player in Jerry Stackhouse, whose name has been floating around the coaching carousel. Mark Jackson is another option to be the next coach. Many Pistons fans would absolutely love to see Mr. Big Shot himself, Chauncey Billups, return to help bring them back to the top of the league. The Pistons may even dig around in the college ranks to see if someone like Tom Izzo or Rick Pitino has any interest in coaching in the NBA.
Whoever it is will come into town with a great duo in the front-court and possibly a potential all star point guard in Reggie Jackson, if he can stay healthy. And that’s a big IF. The Pistons need to get back to their roots and realize what their identity is. Historically, championships have been won as a team with great chemistry. All three of the team’s NBA Championships have come without a single player on the All-NBA team.
This mentality has to be built again from the front office down to the end of the bench. Let’s hope Tom Gores can find the man to bring this personality back to Detroit Basketball.
“From Our Haus to Yours”