Speaking on Thursday night to reporters, Pistons owner Tom Gores said that winning is still his top priority, but admitted he wants more than a No. 8 seed and acknowledged that taking a step back in the short term could ultimately help Detroit achieve that goal, tweets James Edwards of The Athletic.
“We have to look at everything because we’re not winning, so you’re not winning, to me, you have to assess everything,” Gores said of his 12-23 squad, per Rod Beard of The Detroit News. “I think anybody would want to do that. And probably in the next month or so, we’re going to get together as an organization and just discuss things.”
Although Gores didn’t go so far as to say that the Pistons are seriously considering becoming deadline sellers or blowing up their roster, his comments reflect a change in tone. After the club was eliminated from the playoffs by Milwaukee last April, the Pistons’ owner stressed that he doesn’t believe in tanking and wants to establish a winning culture in Detroit. However, the organization’s win-now efforts have been largely unsuccessful.
The Pistons have made the postseason just twice in the last 10 years, both times as the East’s No. 8 seed. The team didn’t win a single game in either playoff appearance and appears on track to miss the postseason again in 2020, despite the fact that the eighth-seeded Magic are just 15-19 — the 11th-seeded Pistons are already 3.5 games back. Injuries have played a part in Detroit’s struggles this season, but Gores doesn’t want to use them as an excuse, as Beard notes.
“We expected to manage minutes and all of that stuff for our players but we’ve had some bad luck, but other teams had bad luck, too, and you’ve got to work through it,” Gores said. “I just think injuries happen. We’ve had more than our share this year, but we have to build a team that can handle it.”
While it’s probably too early in the season for the Pistons to shift into player-development mode, it was interesting that Gores’ comments came on a night when rookie Sekou Doumbouya – the NBA’s youngest player – received his first career start, as Edwards points out at The Athletic.
If the Pistons do become sellers at the deadline, Derrick Rose, Markieff Morris, and Langston Galloway would be among the team’s trade candidates. Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond, and Reggie Jackson could be discussed as well, though they’d be trickier to move and the franchise would have to be willing to fully commit to a change in direction.