Pistons Notes: Williams, Cunningham, Wiseman, Gores, Rebuild

When Monty Williams signed a six-year contract to coach the Pistons, he couldn’t have possibly known that a franchise seemingly ready to turn the corner would approach an NBA record for most consecutive losses. Williams admits that it’s the most difficult test in his coaching career.

“It’s tough to even put it into words. Even with this losing streak, I’m around town, taking my kids to games, I still get an unbelievably great deal of support,” Williams told Marc J. Spears of Andscape. “And it means the world to me. But we’re not done. I know it seems bad right now, and it is. This thing will turn and I just have to have faith and belief. This is the toughest challenge I’ve had in my coaching career. But I felt that way when I got to Phoenix and that thing turned. This one has taken a bit longer, but we’ve had way more obstacles.”

We have more on the Pistons:

  • Despite the 24-game losing streak, franchise player Cade Cunningham has shown progress this season, James Edwards III of The Athletic writes. Cunningham, who can sign a rookie scale extension next offseason, racked up a career-high 43 points and added seven assists and five rebounds with only three turnovers in Detroit’s loss at Atlanta on Monday. Over his last 10 games, Cunningham is averaging 22.0 PPG and 7.0 APG on 49% shooting and has cut back on his turnovers. Williams has also been impressed with Cunningham’s leadership. “Watching his leadership during which will probably be the toughest time in his career, I couldn’t be more proud of how he’s talked to the group, had a great spirit every single day,” Williams said.
  • James Wiseman‘s minutes have increased due to frontcourt injuries and he’s taking advantage, averaging 14.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in the last four games, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com notes. “It shows when you work and do the right things and you get the chance to play and you’re productive, you earn minutes,” Williams said. “There are times he looks like our best player on the floor on both ends and I’m happy for him.” Wiseman will be a restricted free agent after the season, if the Pistons extend a qualifying offer.
  • How much longer before owner Tom Gores declares the rebuild a failure and either pushes for a major trade or makes changes to the front office? Omari Sankofa II of the Detroit Free Press (subscription required) explores that topic.
  • The way this Pistons season has unfolded should be a cautionary tale to fans who are rooting for their teams to go into rebuild mode, John Hollinger of The Athletic opines. The crux of the problem, Hollinger notes, is that the Pistons have made eight first-round draft picks since their reset in 2019 and have yet to land a star. Even Cunningham might be better off as a complementary player rather than a No. 1 option, according to Hollinger.
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