The Pistons’ decision to hire Dwane Casey as head coach in June of 2018 was the right call, one that remains a smart choice even with the team’s current struggles, Keith Langlois of NBA.com writes.
Detroit has lost three straight games and is just 14-27 on the season, dealing with a litany of injuries to key players such as Blake Griffin, Reggie Jackson and Luke Kennard. Casey was hired after an outstanding 2017/18 season with Toronto that earned him Coach of the Year honors.
“It’s tough because I went through this about six or seven years ago in Toronto, the rebuild we did there,” Casey said, as relayed by Langlois. “I thought I had graduated from that, but we’re back here again – which is fine. I enjoy coaching. I enjoy teaching. There were no parameters put on what type of team it was going to be here. I expected it to be a playoff team and still want to win.”
Casey was hesitant to describe the Pistons’ current situation as a full rebuild, however, with the veteran coach still gunning to compete in the Eastern Conference and guide his players to new heights.
“I wouldn’t necessarily call it a rebuild, totally,” Casey said. “Not down to the nubs, the studs and to the foundation. But of our core, only Andre is still available and I would say Luke would be the other part of that. But then after that, it’s Sekou, Christian, Bruce. That’s the key. It’s shifted to that. Don’t want to call it a rebuild, but that’s where the focus is right now – with those guys.”
The Pistons are 5.5 games behind the No. 8 seed Nets, with Kennard expected to miss another month, Griffin rehabbing from knee surgery and Jackson still without a timetable for a return due to his back injury.
There’s more out of the Central Division tonight:
- Pistons guard Derrick Rose has been fined $25K for throwing a pen across the court and into the stands on Monday, the league announced in a press release. The incident occurred with 37 seconds left in overtime at New Orleans.
- Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. is set to make his return to the lineup on Tuesday against the Clippers, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (Twitter link). Nance has been sidelined for nearly two weeks with knee soreness. The 27-year-old is holding season averages of eight points, seven rebounds and 24.3 minutes per game in 31 contests.
- It’s time for the Bulls to do right by Thaddeus Young and trade the veteran forward, Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times contends. Young signed with Chicago as a free agent last July, inking a three-year deal worth $41MM. Young and his camp initially thought he’d receive more minutes after choosing to join the team, but the 31-year-old is only averaging 22.3 minutes per game — the lowest since his rookie season in 2007-08.