If the NBA has a soap opera this season, it may be set in Detroit. Monday night came the most public of this season’s spectacles — Tayshaun Prince and coach John Kuester had words on the bench.
Very public, very heated words.
Kuester had pulled Prince in the second quarter for feeling he had not worked hard enough to get through a double screen and stop a Reggie Williams three (the Warriors were up 30 in the second quarter). The two exchanged words on the bench — Prince was seated — to the point that Kuester motioned to security to remove Prince from the bench, and Kuester had to be restrained by an assistant coach from going up to Prince.
After the game, everybody tried to downplay the problems in the Detroit News.
“I voiced my opinion, he voiced his,” said Prince, who scored 15. “We were getting our heads bashed in. Nothing was going our way, they were picking us apart. Maybe I didn’t handle it the right way.”
“This game is emotional,” Kuester said. “This game is played with passion. That’s what we needed at this stage of the game, that passion. And I thought he responded in the second half.”
When Prince came out, the Warriors went on a 9-0, which was almost immediately followed by a Pistons 9-0 run. Prince was not on the court during the fourth quarter spurts by the Pistons — a 13-5 run to start the quarter and a late 10-0 run — that made this a game at the end.
Simply put, there is a moat between the Pistons coach and the players. This was not the first time Prince had words for Kuester. Rodney Stuckey basically ignored Kuester’s requests against the Hawks and had to be benched for a game. Ben Gordon and Austin Daye have made public comments about coaching decisions.
All of that in 11 games.
There is a certain amount of sniping that goes on about every coach on every team, but it is almost never made in public settings. When there is, it is a sign of bigger issues.
But these are issues not going to be resolved any time soon in Detroit — the team is in the process of being sold. Until that happens, don’t expect any big or bold moves. Just more of the same from the inconsistent and bickering Pistons.