Stan Van Gundy taking full advantage of coaching staff
During the offseason, some players decide to stay in Detroit, putting a lot of time in the gym and at the other Pistons' facilities, Quincy Miller was a mainstay in the Motown weight-lifting room prior to being traded. Andre Drummond and Brandon Jennings have also checked-in with the team. However, not all players spend their offseason in Michigan, deciding instead to go back home and train in their local gyms, but have no fear, if you can't workout with the Pistons' staff, the Pistons staff will come to you, as Vince Ellis at The Detroit Free Press recently pointed out.
Most fans knew that David Hopla joined Malik Allen in California to work with Andre Drummond's free throw shooting early into the offseason, but so has assistant coach Charles Klask, who worked out with the Pistons' center as well as second-year man Spencer Dinwiddie and rookie Stanley Johnson. Grand Rapids Drive assistant coach Dion Glover has also been sent to Atlanta to work out Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Jodie Meeks. The Pistons' Director of Sports Medicine and Head Athletic Trainer Jon Ishop has been working with the UFC to help look into reducing training injuries and recovery tactics according to Sports Business Daily's Bill King. SVG also said during the Lowe Podcast that he has been leaning on assistants Bob Beyer and Brendan Malone on coaching matters while he and Jeff Bower act as the team's executives.
After six seasons without tasting the playoffs, Stan Van Gundy seems intent on having the Pistons participate in the post-season, and has been taking full advantage of the tools at his disposal to develop his players and make the most of his coaching team.
Pistons players to train with UFC fighters; Dinwiddie discusses point guard rotation
As mentioned above, Detroit's Jon Ishop has been working with UFC trainers in cross-sport workouts, with several UFC fighters having trained in the Pistons' facilities over the past few weeks. It has now come for the second half of the partnership to come into play, with multiple Motor City players heading to Las Vegas to train in UFC gyms according to The Detroit Free Press' Perry A. Farrell. Both Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson helped organize the Vegas training trip, which will also act as one of the team's first bonding experiences. Spencer Dinwiddie is one of the players that will be involved, and Brandon Jennings, who is already in Vegas, is expected to make an appearance. It is expected that most, if not all, of the team's players will take part in the UFC training experience.
Dinwiddie, who showed promise during his rookie season, opened up about the team's current point guard situation, with the Colorado product telling Farrell he hopes to secure the backup position ahead of veterans Brandon Jennings and Steve Blake. The sophomore guard referred to Jennings' as the "elephant in the room" according to MLive's David Mayo saying:
"When you have two starters and you know only one can start, something's got to give," Dinwiddie said. "So I don't know what's going to happen. I'm sure Brandon's coming back to be the best player on the floor. Reggie, I'm sure he feels like he obviously is our franchise guy right now, until 'Dre signs his max deal. So we'll see. We'll see what happens. I can't tell you what's going to happen with Brandon and Reggie but everybody's waiting to see, I'm sure."
Young core chasing first playoff appearance
Stan Van Gundy's 2015 season was the worst of his career, as the Pistons' head coach posted his worst regular season record, and missed the postseason, two unlikely milestones he had never previously encountered over the course of his career. Whilst he has dismissed the notion that his first season in Motown was a failure, his players are aware that he has playoff aspirations, and they feel they are ready to compete not only for a playoff berth, but potentially for a title. Per the Freep's Perry A. Farrell:
"We just don't want to get in as the eighth-seed,'' said rookie forward Stanley Johnson. "We're trying to put our efforts forth to win a championship every year that we're here. I think any guy that's interested in winning would want to be here. I think we're a team of substance instead of flash. As long as we're doing our job every day I think our fans will come and we have to focus on basketball instead of selling tickets.''
The thought of a title after coming off a 32-50 season seems a bit of wishful thinking, but it certainly isn't impossible for the Pistons to be in the mix in the next few years, as the team's young core builds chemistry and Stan Van Gundy's coaching style imprints on Detroit's play. DBB has delved into the odds and possibilities of the Pistons' 2016 season potential successes, with revken looking at the team's increasing three-point ability, Jason Brunskowski breaking down Drummond's rebounding numbers, Packey talking playoffs, and lazchance firing back at ESPN for predicting a 35-47 season for the Motor City (Seriously ESPN?). The team is certainly hungry for a winning season, with the Pistons' offseason indicating that they are serious about making a postseason push, but we'll only know how much they've improved once the season kicks off in October.
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