John Loyer has publicly come come out and explicitly stated that the Detroit Pistons will not rest veterans in favor of young players as the season winds down.
The comments from Detroit's head coach are at odds with those of his starting point guard as Brandon Jennings recently said that it's important for the team to play the young guys more.
"At this point it's important to play the young guys. Give them some time," Jennings told the Detroit News. "Let them see what it's like to play 30, 35 minutes a night in the NBA.
"I think it would help a lot. Summer League is nothing like the NBA," Jennings said.
Jennings is not the most popular Pistons player as he finishes his first year in Detroit, but in this case he is 100 percent right. Unfortunately, his head coach values a minute chance for victories as opposed to the extremely large chance of developing the skills and experience of young players who have not received much playing time this season.
"We'll play the guys that we have dressed in uniform and go try to win the game," Loyer said after this morning's shootaround at United Center. "I mean, I don't know how, as a coach, you couldn't go into the game without (using) anybody you've got healthy and available that night to go out and win the game. I don't know how to coach any other way and I don't think there are any other coaches in the league coaching that way."
Amazingly, in a roundabout way he blames his inability in developing his young players for his inability to develop his young players. To wit:
"Some guys haven't played a lot of minutes. You can't throw them out there 30-35 minutes. They're not in condition to do that," Loyer said. "So you kind of pick your spots. You want to get a good look at everybody. But again, you don't want to put anybody in a position to fail. You put guys in spots where you think they can succeed."
So Loyer can't be expected to play guys like Luigi Datome, Peyton Siva and Tony Mitchell 35 minutes because they're not even prepared to play a starter's game worth of minutes. Brilliant.
Perhaps if Loyer was willing to give more time to his young players who, by all accounts, have worked hard all year as they were biding their time, those players would perform well when given a chance. Instead, he leaned more on his starters than ever, limited his rotation to eight guys and gave 30+ minutes to Rodney Stuckey, who has been terrible for months and won't be with the organization in a couple of weeks.
This is all, Loyer says, an effort to win the game. Nevermind the fact that the Pistons record has been worse with him as head coach compared to the deposed Maurice Cheeks. Nevermind the fact that winning is still a possibility when you play young players compared to veterans. Nevermind the fact that there is a case to be made for rewarding players for the hard work they exhibit in practice. Nevermind the fact that it's always nice to be prepared in case someone goes down with injury.
None of that matters. instead, it's all about playing veterans who can't win and don't fit well together 40+ minutes a night in lineup configurations that a season's worth of data tells us make the Pistons a demonstrably worse team compared to just about any configuration.
Is this season over yet?