From the outside looking in, the Detroit Pistons were a god-forsaken mess last season. A coach the players didn’t respect, a near mutiny at one point with players skipping a practice in protest and losses piling up fast on a proud franchise.
To put it in Detroit terms, they looked worse than the automotive industry. I’d say they were one of the biggest disasters in Detroit sports history, but the Lions have secured all the top spots on that list.
But as bad as it looked from the outside, it was worse on the inside.
That’s what Ben Gordon told Jonathan Abrams of Grantland.
“Last year, everything that possibly could have went wrong, went wrong. We had a lot of talent. There were a lot of issues in the front office, on the floor, with coaches, with players. It was just a mess. People from the outside looking in don’t realize how bad it was. It wasn’t conducive for playing basketball at a high level and it showed. It was pretty much what everybody saw. Some guys showed up to play. Some guys didn’t show up to play. Whatever point people were trying to prove by showing up or nothing showing up, those points were taken. Six guys showed up. Six guys played and a few other guys decided not to play that night. That was one of the uglier moments during the season. Moving forward, I don’t see that happening anymore. That was probably one of the lowest basketball moments I’ve ever been a part of. Because we’re all a team and we all shared that negative light. Regardless of who played that night, it was bad. But moving forward, I think the emphasis will be much different.”
Lawrence Frank is going to change some things about the franchise, and work ethic and attitude will be one of them. Guaranteed.
By the way, you should be checking out Abrams at Grantland. We can debate the overall value of that site, but Abrams has been killing it.
Will the players from any team be as happy to have a new coach as the Detroit Pistons?
There was serious infighting between the coach and the players last season, including players skipping practices and more.
Pistons forward Austin Daye doesn’t exactly say “don’t let the door hit you’re a– on the way out” but he didn’t shed a tear for Kuester in a conversation with the Daily Pilot.
“A new coach and a new system might be beneficial for me,” Daye said, who also said he is trying to bulk up and increase his weight, listed at 205 pounds last season. I’m definitely gaining weight,” Daye said. “It’s been a priority of mine.”
He could use to bulk up a little, but Kuester used him poorly — at the start of the season he had Tayshaun Prince at the three, Daye — all 205 pounds of him — at the four. It was a bad matchup, and Daye saw his minuted drop as the season wore on. Prince may well leave via free agency, and Daye should get a longer look at the three, where he is a more natural fit.
Daye’s new role will depend heavily on the new coach. What Pistons fans need to hope for is an organization that from new owner Tom Gores down through the coach to the equipment manager are on the same page. They are rebuilding, so pick the style of tem they want to be, hire a coach that can execute it and start building with players that fit the system.
Daye has the advantage of being versatile, he would fit in nearly any system.
The sale of the Detroit Pistons to Tom Gores has finally gone through, and he has taken only a few days to start the process of rebuilding the franchise.
That starts by firing coach John Kuester, as reported by a number of sources including ESPN.
“Decisions like this are difficult to make,” team president Joe Dumars said. “I want to thank John for his hard work and dedication to the organization over the last two years, however, at this time we have decided to make a change.”
This was a change that needed to happen. Kuester was 57-105 in two seasons, and this past season the only headlines the Pistons made were as the team’s veteran rebelled against him, with internal squabbling and even missed practices.
Kuester was the assistant coach behind the offensive improvements in the Cavaliers offense during the LeBron James era there (although improved players had a lot to do with that, too). He likely will land somewhere as an assistant (back with Mike Brown, now in Los Angeles?). But as a head coach he clearly lost the team and would have lost his job more quickly had it not been for the sale of the team taking most of the season.
As for who is next, former Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Woodson was a Pistons assistant before. Aside that, expect the usual suspects, but it depends on what direction Gores wants to take the franchise in terms of style of play.
Tom Gores is now finally, officially, the owner of the Detroit Pistons.
The terms of the sale had been in place a couple months but details still had to be finalized. They have been now. David Stern announced before Game 1 of the NBA finals the sale of the franchise to Gores and his equity firm had been approved by the Board of Governors (the other owners).
“We are delighted that the NBA’s Board of Governors approved Tom Gores’ purchase of majority ownership of the Pistons,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern. “We look forward to the Pistons’ continued growth, both on and off the court, under his leadership.”
The rest of us look forward to something now happening regarding coach John Kuester.
Gores was born in Israel, was raised in Flint, Michigan, went to Michigan State, and started out selling computers in the state. He eventually moved to California where he founded Platinum Equity, which is a power in the leveraged buyout business. At age 46, he is worth an estimated $2.4 billion.
It is Gores and Platinum Equity that purchased the team as well as the Palace of Auburn Hills and DTE Energy Music Theatre. The team had been owned by Karen Davidson, who took control when her husband Bill died in 2009 and she had been trying to sell the team since then. The price is estimated to be more than $400 million.
ESPN.com’s Ric Bucher reports that Detroit Pistons coach John Kuester will not return as head coach next season:
Detroit head coach John Kuester will not be returning to the Pistons, according to sources. It is presumed that president Joe Dumars and his staff will be returning, but there has been no definitive indication of that yet, sources said.
via Sources: John Kuester will not be back as Detroit Pistons coach – ESPN.
Interesting note, here, the report does not indicate that Kuester has been fired, just that he won’t return. Tom Gores is set to take ownership of the team on Wednesday, pending a vote by the Board of Governors that will of course pass. Meanwhile, MLive.com reports that no decision has been made regarding Kuester.
With Mike Brown headed to Los Angeles, Kuester would be able to take less to get out of a toxic situation in Detroit that saw his players literally revolt against him, and not the young guys, the veterans. The Pistons were bad, but have good young talent, a value draft pick and a lot of potential. Kuester’s coaching, beyond just ego management, has been poor, as rotations and play sets seemed to defy… what’s the word? Ah, logic.
Kuester may not be out yet, but the storm clouds are definitely gathering. Hope he’s got an umbrella. And that he didn’t bench it unnecessarily.
Update: Throw the Detroit News on the list of folks saying this hasn’t gone down yet.