After their successful 44 win 2015-16 season, the Detroit Pistons were beginning to look like a team on the rise. With budding point guard Reggie Jackson, franchise big man Andre Drummond, as well as forward Tobias Harris, the Pistons had a solid core to begin building a foundation around. They also had shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and forward Marcus Morris. Then, after their successful 2015-16 season, the Pistons went out and bought themselves a deep bench. By bringing in point guard Ish Smith, forward Jon Leuer and 7’3″ center Boban Marjanovic, to go along with second year forward Stanley Johnson, the Pistons formulated a talented and deep bench; however, despite their young up and coming core and offseason additions, the Pistons have struggled to remain in the playoff race. Head coach Stan Van Gundy deserves a lot of the blame for the Detroit Pistons’ struggles.
Stan Van Gundy Deserves Blame for Pistons Struggles
Throughout the NBA, Stan Van Gundy is known for being a tough as nails, no nonsense head coach. That mentality has helped him build a reputation as one of the more disciplined and well-minded coaches in the association. In addition to his coaching mentality, Van Gundy has coached some very high profile players in the past.
In his time as a head coach, Van Gundy has coached the likes of Dwyane Wade in his prime, as well as half of fame center Shaquille O’Neal, and center Dwight Howard. All three were superstar players. On the current team Van Gundy has assembled though, he doesn’t have a player such as Wade or Howard.
While the likes of Reggie Jackson and Andre Drummond draw intrigue for other teams, they’re by no means superstar players. That doesn’t mean that they can’t compete in the Eastern Conference though, as they proved last year.
After coming out of nowhere to win 44 games, the Pistons looked like a team on the rise, but this year has proved otherwise.
The 2016-17 season got off on the wrong foot for the Detroit Pistons. Early on, Reggie Jackson missed roughly a month of time due to injury. His injury was a setback for Detroit, as they we’re unable to climb the Eastern Conference latter in the season’s early stages.
By staying right around the .500 mark, the Pistons have been unable to make a a big jump in the standings. However, being that the Eastern Conference has been a relatively weak one this year, the Pistons have been able to stay in the playoff hunt over the course of the season. Their recent play though has potentiality sealed their playoff fate.
Over the course of the last few weeks, the Pistons have severely struggled to help themselves out in their playoff aspirations.
Losing nine of their last eleven games, Detroit has put themselves two and a half games out of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. To make matters worse, those losses were versus struggling teams such as the Brooklyn Nets, the Orlando Magic and even the New York Knicks. To top it off, the Pistons loss on a tip-in at the buzzer versus the Miami Heat on Tuesday night.
With an underwhelming 35-42 record and possessing the 11th seed in the Eastern Conference, the Pistons have disappointed many this year, as it appears that they’ll be out of the playoff picture this spring.
While there have been a number of factors that have contributed to their downfall, Stan Van Gundy deserves a lot of blame for the Pistons’ struggles.
Van Gundy is to Blame
While Van Gundy has been the president of basketball operations and head coach of the Detroit Pistons in his three years with them, he’s a big part of their struggles too. While many have credited him for putting the Pistons back on the NBA map, his coaching philosophy has been highly unsuccessful this year.
Given their 2015-16 success, the Pistons should’ve grown and developed into a top team in the Eastern Conference this year, given their youth and offseason pickups. It’s clear that they’ve done no such thing though.
Being that he had a franchise center in Andre Drummond (who the Pistons gave 130 million to this past summer) and a number of talented pieces, Van Gundy should’ve been able to propel Detroit to the top of the East. Also, being that the conference has two teams in the playoffs with a record below .500, the Pistons have shown that they’re not a playoff team by not taking advantage of other teams’ woes.
Despite revving them a year ago, head coach Stan Van Gundy deserves a big share of the blame for the Pistons downfall this year.