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Is Van Gundy taking lessons from Pop?

The Spurs’ Greg Popovich is legendary for how he spars with reporters, but the Pistons’ new head man recently displayed a similar capability.

Gregory Shamus

Those who have followed the career of Stan Van Gundy have come to expect a high level of candor in his comments to the media. While Joe Dumars was often tight-lipped, Van Gundy has spoken often and openly about his hopes, plans and expectations. While it would be naïve to think that he spills the whole story about what he has in mind, he usually gives a full and thoughtful response to inquiries from the press.

Yet when questioned about who his starting small forward will be for the next Wednesday’s opening game at Denver, Van Gundy revealed a Pop-like playful side in a statement that was quoted in MLive on Saturday, October 25:

Van Gundy hasn't announced any firm starters but almost certainly will go with Brandon Jennings at point guard, Andre Drummond at center and Josh Smith at power forward to start the season. When Caldwell-Pope is healthy and full-speed, he figures to start at shooting guard, perhaps by the opener.

That leaves small forward and Van Gundy's coyness.

"I'll read all you guys' columns and stuff, I'll weigh that into my decision and then we'll decide," he said.

Then Van Gundy added:

"No, I'm not firm on what we'll do."

Coming off a 5-2 preseason record that culminated with a victory over Philadelphia (in which the Pistons made over 50 percent of their three-pointers, and small forwards Caron Butler, Cartier Martin and Kyle Singler hit 9-18), Van Gundy has probably earned the right to jest – and to digest the results before he makes up his mind.

After six straight losing seasons, the combination of candor and comedy could be a welcome relief for Pistons’ fans.

Especially if it’s joined by more entries in the win column.