The John Loyer era, however long it might last, started with a bang: he's undefeated after his NBA head coaching debut, leading the Pistons to a win over the San Antonio Spurs, a team that boasts the third-best record in the entire league.
But despite the excitement that Loyer must be feeling, he downplayed his own role and credited the players for playing through the distraction. From MLive's Brendan Savage:
"It's not about me," said Loyer, who had been an assistant coach for 11 years before finally assuming the No. 1 chair on the Pistons' bench. "I'm just glad our guys played hard and were fortunate enough to get a win. I feel about the same as I did as an assistant coach.
"I told them it was going to be an emotional day. I told them that I thought we could play collectively for longer periods of time better than we have. We had to dig deep and play together. I thought our guys showed great resolve tonight."
"I told the guys today, just when we were in the locker room, I’m so proud of them," Loyer said. "I only thought there was a three-minute period to where they showed more energy, more determination than us.
"You show determination, hustle for 45 of the 48 minutes, you’re going to be pretty successful most nights. So I told the guys I thought that was the big key."
(Side note: he's right, hustle does go a long way. The Spurs shot 52.4 percent, this could have easily been a predictable loss. But the Pistons were relentless on the boards and played with purpose all night, which contributed at least in part to the lopsided free throw and turnover disparity in Detroit's favor. But I digress.)
While Mo Cheeks often looked like a passive observer on the sideline, Loyer was clearly more animated. The demeanor carried through to the huddles, as Kyle Singler described. From MLive:
"With what happened with our coach yesterday, I don't think it really affected us. It felt a little different. Not having Mo out there felt weird but I felt coach Loyer did a great job. He took control of the team. He demanded people's attention.
"He controlled the huddle really well tonight and just the pace of the game."
Brandon Jennings said the same (from Terry Foster of the Detroit News):
"They are both two different coaches," guard Brandon Jennings said. "One is loud and the other is kind of laid back. But they are both great guys."
Loyer, though, refused to define his coaching style. Also from the News:
"I have no style. It was my first game," Loyer said. "I do what I think is best for the team. Some nights are emotional nights and you have to give them more. Some of our guys need reinforcement."
Now your thoughts.
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- Ben Wallace's SUV involved in hit-and-run accident in Virginia, according to report
- John Loyer's first head coaching job is years in the making