Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy acquiring the ideal culture to build in Detroit
A blowout loss in New Orleans couldn’t be rectified with a trip to Denver. A massive defensive collapse within the third quarter against the Nuggets left the Pistons sifting by means of a road trip turning sour. Absolutely nothing is definitely assured for Detroit despite becoming a couple of games above .500 because the Eastern Conference is unseasonably spry and pretty deep in winning teams browsing for the postseason. So losing these two games in a row around the road left a few concerns about what the team could do much better.
The consensus answer about the group appears to be communication. Perhaps the most effective communication can come from a team bonding expertise. This time, the option for group bonding was an impromptu snowball fight. Outdoors the University of Utah practice facility, the Pistons utilized the environment around them as each a battlefield and ammunition. A very good practice for the group set the tone for the day and slinging snowballs at teammates and employees walking out from the building, on their cell phones, was the move for them.
“We all like each and every other,” second-year Piston Anthony Tolliver said about the snowball fight. “We get along truly effectively, which I feel is really a definitely big thing to playing this game. When you like each and every other, you happen to be going to attempt to help every other out. In some cases our on-court performance does not dictate just how much we like every single other off the court.
“If we do that a lot more, if we’re extra collectively around the court, I think that is the path our group wants to go. Taking that off-the-court camaraderie and seriously placing it on the court — on the defensive finish and around the offensive finish.”
One of your biggest factors you’ll hear coaches talk about establishing within an organization and around the floor is trust. In creating a winning culture, players have to trust each other. Not to quote Sam Hinkie but they have to trust the process. They have to trust that sacrifice is worth making for the team and it will pay out later on. Obtaining 15 guys to trust the team concept at all times is everything Stan Van Gundy seems to become about doing because he trusts that his way of doing items will maximize everybody involved.
Van Gundy knows he’s very demanding. He knows he pushes players maybe too hard at times. Unfairly for a long time, Shaquille O’Neal dubbing Van Gundy as the “master of panic” following the job he did coaching the Miami Heat from 2003 to December of 2005 stuck with him. Pleading and coaching gets confused with panic due to the fact of how adamant he is when it comes to playing a certain way.
He also doesn’t get too caught up in huge moments, which possibly doesn’t bring your typical gratification people are looking for in any profession when it comes to a job effectively done. A win isn’t a win but a chance to tighten up the defensive rotations. A snowball fight to construct camaraderie is fine but it’s also a mild concern that friendship and bonds can keep people from holding every other accountable simply because you don’t want to upset your friend.
What Shaq deemed panic, others around the league call focus, discipline and balance.
Currently, Van Gundy is attempting to focus a relatively inexperienced Pistons team. Andre Drummond is turning from prospect to All-Star. Reggie Jackson is turning from prospect to also a potential All-Star. Rookie Stanley Johnson is being thrown into the fire where defense will earn him additional burn. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Marcus Morris are becoming asked to become elite perimeter defenders. Everything is connected and comes back to defense, which is Stan’s brand of basketball.
“We’re not inside a great place defensively,” Van Gundy says in regards to the 11th-best defensive group within the NBA. This is interesting simply because last season the Pistons clocked in at 21st in defensive rating. It was Van Gundy’s first season as the coach and the executive. He made major changes like not committing long-term to Greg Monroe, waiving Josh Smith having a lot of time and money left around the contract and swinging a deal for Reggie Jackson at the trade deadline after Brandon Jennings. It was chaos but it was his chaos. And at a certain point, you have to focus the chaos into your brand of basketball.
We’ve often focused on the pick-and-roll offense and the stretch-4 spread offense of Van Gundy, but everything he wants to do starts with constructing the same defensive execution he had in Orlando. For Van Gundy, 11th in defense at this point just isn’t superior enough. It needs to be fixed, but pinpointing that is trickier than just saying “protect the paint” or “stop 3-pointers” because defense can be complicated inside the NBA.
“It’s not one or two items,” Van Gundy says about fixing the issues with his team’s defense. “I assume our major problem has been our pick-and-roll defense. We’ll have to become a lot improved there. Our communication’s got to be greater and earlier. We’ve just got to have a great deal a lot more intensity by the guards, by perimeter guys to get over picks and get back in front of the ball.”
Van Gundy stated this about his group prior to a game against the Utah Jazz, who he was excited to play because of just how much they put opposing teams in pick-and-roll coverage. He wanted his team to become tested to see if they could rise to the challenge of becoming much better against the pick-and-roll. What Detroit does nicely on defense can be found in transition, found in closing out on shooters coming off screens or just spotting up, denying scoring opportunities on hand-offs, and keeping the other team from getting a lot of offensive putback chances for points.
The pick-and-roll defense ranks in the bottom 10 in the NBA. The biggest problem about it becomes the ball pressure at the top from the defense. Perimeter defenders have been too caught up in getting a circuitous route to avoid getting caught up inside the screen than fighting by way of the screen and staying around the initiator’s hip, keeping constant pressure to limit options for the offense.
Part of this comes from group defense communication, which everybody agrees requires to improve.