Stan Van Gundy has been patient ever since being hired to coach the team and run the Pistons front office.
But his patience appears to be running out.
In his comments before the season finale against the Orlando Magic, Van Gundy, in typical fashion, didn’t pull any punches.
Courtesy of Rod Beard of the Detroit News:
“There have to be some changes and we have to make, as a staff, some good evaluations on the guys who can and are willing to make some of those changes,” Van Gundy said. “That means who are the guys we’re going to bet on to make improvements in their game and who are the guys we can bet on their professionalism and commitment on a night-to-night basis?
“We had too many some-of-the-time guys who we couldn’t count on. If we don’t think those guys can change, well then they’ve got to be changed. I didn’t think on a night-to-night basis we were consistent in our approach.”
Van Gundy didn’t name any names, but the first name that comes to my mind is Andre Drummond. You could throw Reggie Jackson into that mix as well, but he never seemed right physically much less mentally all year.
For his part, Van Gundy praised Jackson Tuesday and expressed confidence he’s be effective once again.
Another player you might consider is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope who started the year looking like he had raised his offensive game to match his stellar defense. KCP is about to get a massive raise this summer, and his early season play suggested he’d be worth every penny for the Pistons to retain. He was hovering around 40 percent on his 3-point shot through January but it dropped to 33.8 percent in February and 30.6 percent in March. Marcus Morris and Jon Leuer also struggled mightily from the perimeter.
But let’s get back to Drummond.
Less of a season-long regression, Drummond just flat out doesn’t bring it on a night-to-night basis. There has also been no appreciable growth in his offensive or defensive game since Van Gundy arrived.
SVG gave Drummond the keys to the candy store. He went from a rim-runner and garbage man to a featured player on offense. Drummond awarded this trust with the worst free-throw shooting in NBA history and a prolific and incredibly damaging post-up game.
Drummond has 333 post-ups this season and his 0.74 points per possession ranks dead last among the 27 players with at least 200 post-ups. Last season, Drummond ranked second-to-last with 0.74 ppp among the 17 players with at least 200 post-ups. Oh yeah, he also hasn’t learned how to pass out of a double-team.
Will Drummond return? Well, the team isn’t going to trade him if they can’t get anything back, and he’s certainly at the nadir of his value.
But Van Gundy doesn’t seem to have any illusions. Drummond, even if he isn’t named officially, is on notice. As is every other Pistons. Van Gundy, too, for that matter, is running out of time.