Pistons owner Tom Gores credits the decision to unify the position of coach and chief basketball executive and the subsequent hiring of Stan Van Gundy to fill that post as the primary reason the team was able to advance to the playoffs this season, Keith Langlois of NBA.com relays. “I think throughout the league are disconnects between the floor and the front office, but not everybody can do what Stan can do,” Gores said. “Coach and then think big picture, high level and what’s good for the franchise long term. I thought that was a way to accelerate our progress and I had seen enough in terms of how that can be disconnected. Hopefully, it has, and we’re in the playoffs now.”
The owner also indicated that the team’s plan all along was to set itself up for sustained success, Langlois adds. “When we talked the first time, we said we wanted to win but never sacrifice the future and we didn’t know how that was going to play out,” Gores said. “Stan deserves a lot of credit. He came in, really quickly changed the culture. We worked together setting up the organization. When I met with Stan those couple years ago, what he had to say really impressed me. But more importantly now, he just delivers. He’s hard working, dedicated and I think he’s a great role model for our players in terms of preparation.”
The team’s success under Van Gundy has caught the eye of Wolves owner Glen Taylor, who’s reportedly thinking about mimicking that unified coach/executive structure. Here’s more from the Central Division:
- Bulls point guard Derrick Rose admits that the orbital fracture he suffered during the preseason affected his entire 2015/16 campaign, writes K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune. “It set me back,” Rose said. “But everything happens for a reason. … I can’t look back on it and say, ‘All right, it stopped me from doing this and doing that.’ It made my bank shot better. That’s one of the positives I got out of it. And it gave me time to really look at the game.” Rose doesn’t place all the blame for his troubles on the eye injury, noting he usually is a slow starter, Johnson notes. “It would’ve been a process anyway,” Rose said. “Usually after I come back from working out during the summer, it takes me a couple games anyway because I don’t play pickup. Working out all the time is good, but you need bodies out there to get used to [opponents] being around.“
- The Bucks have reached a 30-year lease agreement with the Wisconsin Center District, the agency that will own the basketball team’s future arena, Tom Daykin of The Journal Sentinel relays. The new facility is set to open in time for the start of the 2018/19 season.
- The Cavaliers have recalled shooting guard Jordan McRae and center Sasha Kaun from their D-League affiliate in Canton, the team announced.