Your Detroit Pistons are, blessedly, almost back from their nine-month hiatus from playing NBA basketball. We are a mere 10 days from the first preseason game. But before we get to games, we’ve got training camp. And during training camp, we’ve got Media Week.
You know how Media Week normally goes. Everyone has either gained eight pounds of muscle or lost 15 pounds of flab. Everyone is in the best shape of their natural-born lives. Everyone is ready to get a jump on the season and go out and win an NBA Championship.
But, in between the rote utterances, we occasionally get some interesting insights into what the team is planning and what players are thinking. To be honest, after so long without the Pistons, even the rote utterances are getting me hype. So let’s extract some hype from the quotes we got from the Pistons today.
Head Coach Dwane Casey:
On the plan for the year:
Casey on Hayes: "I think he can play big minutes. Some of the goal this year is to force feed the young players while competing."— James Edwards III (@JLEdwardsIII) December 1, 2020
Casey said the goal is to develop the skills of their four 2020 draft picks, while also adding Sekou Doumbouya to the mix. The goal is, of course, to win, but the development of the young players is important for the future of the organization.— Lauren L. Williams (@LaurenWilli23) December 1, 2020
Call Killian Hayes and Sekou Doumbouya the Foie Gras Fam, because they’re gonna be STUFFED with minutes this year. This is exactly the type of quote that gets me excited to start the year, because it’s what we wanted out of the team this season. Now, the trick is, we have to hold Dwane to this quote in February when the team has lost four straight games due to rookie mistakes down the stretch of games.
On how Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin will be handled:
#Pistons Dwane Casey on managing Derrick Rose's minutes: "We'll see how it goes...I don't think anything has changed from last year."— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) December 1, 2020
Casey says Blake Griffin is “full go” and excited to play. Didn’t say if Blake will be on a minutes restriction to start the season, it’ll be a conversation for later— Omari Sankofa II (@omarisankofa) December 1, 2020
Sounds like a minute restriction (to start the year) for Derrick Rose, but not so much for Blake Griffin. Rose flourished in his limited minutes last year, and Blake Griffin (hopefully?) isn’t as limited as he was at the beginning of last season, so these moves make sense. The Pistons are probably going to give Blake Griffin every opportunity to play his way out of Detroit.
With that said, maybe we won’t see the Blake-solation offense we saw the last time Blake was fully healthy:
#Pistons Dwane Casey says Blake Griffin won't have to do as much ball-handling with so many other options at point guard.— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) December 1, 2020
We can only hope.
Speaking of Blake...
Detroit Pistons Star Blake Griffin:
On his health:
Blake Griffin said he's feeling great and he's ready to get on the floor.— Lauren L. Williams (@LaurenWilli23) December 1, 2020
Blake Griffin says he's excited to get back on the court after a long year of chatter. "In this league you’re only as good as your last season … I’ve had a lot of time to think and a lot of time to gather motivation from that."— Omari Sankofa II (@omarisankofa) December 1, 2020
Well, that’s encouraging, but I, like the NBA teams hopefully interested in trading for Blake, need to see it to believe it. But oh man, do I want to see it.
On the, uh, new faces in Detroit:
Blake Griffin: "There has been a lot of changes. I was prepared for that. I like the pieces we got. We got, most importantly great guys, but guys who compete and work hard."— James Edwards III (@JLEdwardsIII) December 1, 2020
Blake Griffin: "If developing young guys is the goal for this season, I’ll do whatever they ask of me. I’ll spend time with the young guys, try to teach more, listen more, whatever it is."— Omari Sankofa II (@omarisankofa) December 1, 2020
On Saddiq Bey, specifically:
#Pistons Dwane Casey said Blake Griffin worked with Saddiq Bey in Los Angeles to start the mentoring process.— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) December 1, 2020
Griffin: “Saddiq has one of the most complete games I’ve seen from a rookie. One of my favorite things about him is his hunger for getting better and for the game of basketball.”— Omari Sankofa II (@omarisankofa) December 1, 2020
Hey! Blake-the-veteran-mentor getting his work in early! I, personally, fall into the trap of forgetting about Saddiq Bey’s potential contributions. Bey was the middle child of the draft - people seemed high on Killian Hayes and confused by Isaiah Stewart and let Bey just be - but if Blake sees something there, maybe there’s something to see there.
On potentially being traded:
Griffin also said that he doesn't let trade talk bother him. "I didn't really spend a lot of time listening to that. (It) wasn't really, anything that I paid much attention to. So, that never really gets to me unless I know that's real in that case I probably know."— Lauren L. Williams (@LaurenWilli23) December 1, 2020
Griffin: "Trade talk doesn't really bother me. I've been doing this for too long. I have a great relationship with the front office. When it came to trades, I didn't spend a lot of time paying attention to."— James Edwards III (@JLEdwardsIII) December 1, 2020
I would think that Blake is not necessarily too bothered by the presence of trade talks because he wouldn’t mind terribly if he were traded. It is nice that Blake is taking his role of rookie educator seriously, but I think if the opportunity to compete for a deep playoff spot opened up to him, he would be amenable to it.
Detroit Pistons Future Star Sekou Doumbouya:
On his offseason:
Sekou Doumbouya on his offseason: "My offseason is one of the best that I've done. I learned a lot about myself and my game. I've been working every day."— James Edwards III (@JLEdwardsIII) December 1, 2020
#Pistons Sekou Doumbouya says he's learned a lot this summer about himself, his game and the way coach Dwane Casey wants him to play.— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) December 1, 2020
Specifically, what he worked on this offseason:
Sekou focused on his conditioning. "For everybody if you got if you're in a better condition like you do everything that you want better. You're a better defender, do everything better."— Lauren L. Williams (@LaurenWilli23) December 1, 2020
Well, those are certainly the “right” things to say. There are only so many offseason Sekou Doumbouya has had in his basketball-playing life, and you hope that he comes out of this extended offseason more ready than ever in year 2. But this is squarely in “empty platitude” territory, like we talked about. I certainly HOPE we see it, but I’m going to need to see it.
On his countryman, Killian Hayes:
Sekou Doumbouya on relationship with Killian Hayes: "We have a good relationship. He's going to be good. It's going to be easy for him (to transition). Everyone is on the same page."— James Edwards III (@JLEdwardsIII) December 1, 2020
#Pistons Sekou Doumbouya on how good Killian Hayes is: "He's good ... he's really, really good. He just has to get comfortable."— Rod Beard (@detnewsRodBeard) December 1, 2020
Man, I hope Sekou is right about this one. I was very excited about the Pistons ending up with Killian Hayes (you can read all about that here), I remain very excited about Killian Hayes on the Pistons, I just gotta wait 10 days to see how it translates immediately and three years to see how it translates fully. No big deal.
That wraps it up for Day 1 of Media Week for your Pistons. Any quotes get you excited to start the year? Or are you as inured to the preseason “Everyone saying the right thing” season as I am? Let us know in the comments below.