Detroit Pistons fans hoping for Stan Van Gundy to clean house this summer may be disappointed, as the new coach and president is likely going to wait on any potential trades before he has a chance to evaluate the team's roster in training camp.
"The only guys in the league that you can thoroughly, thoroughly, thoroughly evaluate are your own guys," he said, according to David Mayo at MLive.com. "You see them every day. And so I don't want to rush to judgment on talented guys. I've got an opportunity to evaluate them.
"I'm not going to do anything rash. If you see any of our roster guys moved before the season, I hope you'll look at it and go, 'Well, that's a no-brainer, they had to do it.' But anything that's close, I want to get a look at these guys."
What he left unsaid but is undoubtedly part of his thinking process: the players that Van Gundy (or at least the fanbase) are most interested in trading likely need to time to rebuild their value lest the Pistons get stuck making a bad deal. For instance, if Van Gundy can rehabilitate Josh Smith's game by convincing him to come off the bench, play inside the paint and avoid 3-point shots like the plague, he just may be able to remind the rest of the league that once upon a time he was a valuable big man.
That's easier said than done, of course, but Van Gundy seems to know how to handle guys unwilling to play within a system.
"If 90 percent of your team is high-character guys, the other 10 percent tend to come along in that direction," Van Gundy said, according to MLive.com. "It's when 50 percent of your team is a problem, they affect the other 50 percent. I'm not saying it's going to be easy but you've got to take it into all your roster decisions, you've got to take it into playing time, into consideration, all those things, and I think the culture can be changed.
"What we can't do is take a shortcut to that. The shortcut is, 'This guy's not doing what we want, this isn't the culture we want, but he's a pretty good player and I want to win tonight's game, so I'm going to put him out there for 35 minutes anyway.' If we have to take some hits early in the season to build our culture, as much as we want to win now -- and it's something we're going to talk about with our players -- we want to win now but we're not going to take any shortcuts to that."
And the easiest way to get players to fall in line? Playing time -- or the lack of it.
"The most important thing we do in this coming year is start changing that culture and start changing the character of this team," Van Gundy said. "I guarantee you we can find five players who want to play. And then, if the other guys want to play, they've got to play that way."
Things worked out for the Pistons the last time they had a coach who emphasized "playing the right way," so I'm bullish this could work out.