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Pistons: The mess that keeps trying

Patrick mentioned Darrell Walker openly questioning  John Kuester late in the Pistons’ loss to the Trail Blazers last night, but wait, there’s more. Perry A. Farrell of the Detroit Free Press:

The frustration of the evening flowed over into the postgame. Walker and Kuester were overheard in a heated exchange in the coaches’ office, with Walker objecting to how he was being reprimanded, and Stuckey and Kuester had words when the coach met with the players about being ready to play no matter how long they’ve sat or what the circumstances involved.

Walker and Stuckey weren’t the only ones to indicate unhappiness with Kuester. Michael Rosenberg of the Detroit Free Press:

They were down 99-96, but there were 36 seconds left. There was no need to rush a three-pointer.

So what happened? Ben Gordon tried to get open for a three and was guarded. He passed to Austin Daye — who rushed a three-pointer.

"We should have gone for two," Kuester said. "The execution of the play did not work out the way we wanted to."

But Gordon was asked if they were supposed to shoot a three and said: "I guess everybody was a bit confused, and we forced a shot up."

And Daye was asked if players could ask more questions to be clear on what the coach wants. Here is what he said:

"Uh … I don’t know, man. I’m in my second year, so … I mean, yeah, I think I could ask more questions, but also I think it falls on … the collective whole team, us all being on the whole page. And I think at times we are and we’re really successful. And at times, when it’s crucial, we’re not … at times."

It was pretty clear: He didn’t want to say it was the coach’s fault, but he thought it was the coach’s fault.

For the Pistons’ short- and long-term outlooks, these situations are troubling. It’s troubling  how little the team respects Kuester. It’s troubling that even assistant coaches can’t control their second-guessing in public. It’s troubling how that sentiment has spread from the old guard to the new guard (although not the newest guard).

But how meaningful is all this? Since late December, the Pistons have played harder and better. They’ve done everything that a team responding to its coach looks like it’s doing.

So, they can keep questioning Kuester publicly all they like. I’m not convinced they’ve tuned him out. That’s amazing to say about a coach who has taken more public hits than any this season, but I think it’s true.

Kuester’s Pistons tenure ending in disaster might be inevitable. But as long as he hold this team together – even if it’s by the weakest of threads – I’m not ready to concede he’ll lose it entirely.

10 Comments

  • Feb 14, 20115:21 pm
    by Zeiram

    Reply

    I am sorry but this is a mess. I am not sure Kuester has a future as a NBA coach, the same way I don´t see any future gig for Michael Curry.
    If the team is finally sold and there is a next season a coaching change has to occur. And it has to be someone who knows the game and is respected. I know sometimes you have to experiment with new coaches and it works out too (Avery Johnson, Lawrence Frank, Scott Brooks, Tom Thibodeau etc.) but this team needs a veteran coach.  Should Scott Skiles get fired this season, bring him in!

  • Feb 14, 20115:37 pm
    by TruFan

    Reply

    I think Detroit is a great team.  I think they need commoraderee.  They need more slam dunks.  They need more Rip Hamilton getting tossed out.  They need to become more bonded whether it me a weenie roast at K’s pad or a Modern warfare black ops Natzi Zombie tourney.  They need to bond and show that bonding as a unit on the court.  The old guy may not have all the right answers but he could get them more together by more activities together.  Who can get the message to these guys and give them the inspirational lead?

    The only fault I saw last night was not getting a rotation to rest these guys and not playing Rip.

    • Feb 15, 20111:38 am
      by Laser

      Reply

      you can’t possibly be serious.

  • [...] Pistons: The mess that keeps trying (Piston Powered) [...]

  • Feb 14, 20116:39 pm
    by BIG MARV

    Reply

    I agree with you zieram with the whole coaching change but i think the nba will be fine with the cba I dont see a strike coming. But I do disagree with you a little bit with scott skiles I think he’s a good rebuilding coach a best, he will send a up-and-coming team to the first rd and thats it but to me I think he’s not a “players” coach. Which most of these teams are popular of but you dont see alot of “players coaches” win championships. I think skiles wears his players out in pratice and they are injury plauged by the time they play their games. I thought the bucks would be at least a 5th place team but injuries are kicking their butt. The coach I would like to see here is either Mike Brown (old cavs coach) or Mike Woodson ( old Hawks coach) I think both of these coaches bring the best out of players and they also have a passion that can spread in the locker room and they give them a solid beleif that they can beat any team in the leauge. They are smart and also they coach defense they worked under good coaches like Greg popovich and Larry Brown. I think they (pistons) will go back to the “former nba coach” format that always work.

  • Feb 14, 20119:06 pm
    by jayg108

    Reply

    Very nice title to this piece.  Kinda fits the season, but I don’t think it will end in a mess.  No trade rumors lately, so we may see this team intact until the last game.

  • Feb 14, 201110:04 pm
    by Rodman4Life

    Reply

    If they don’t make some trades, I think it ends up a BIGGER mess.  Let’s move somebody, get picks, shed salary, c’mon!

  • Feb 15, 20111:53 am
    by Laser

    Reply

    1) i don’t know how you could possibly have written this article and then finished with the conclusion that the players haven’t quit on the coach. what do you need to see them do? sit on the court indian style all at once? they play basketball for a living, and every single one of these guys has a reason to play as well as they can (most are young and have their entire careers ahead of them, some are playing for a new contract, some for personal and/or professional pride, and maybe some to get traded out of town). the coach doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with it, and i doubt he does at all. i get the feeling from kuester’s praise of greg monroe that he’s the one guy who hasn’t toned that joker out yet. and he’s a rookie, so that doesn’t mean much. the fact that daye publicly admits he “could ask more questions” speaks volumes.
     
    2) if this team stays intact when the trade deadline comes, i’m finished with this season and perhaps the next one. you may not care, but this isn’t a hollow claim. what we’ve been looking at these past few years is completely unacceptable, and there isn’t a basketball reason in the world to keep this joke going. if tayshaun and t-mac both remain pistons all season, it’s certainly because joe dumars personally likes going to work and having them around, which means he isn’t doing his job. at the very least, he’s clinging to the hope of a playoff berth so he can say we’re a playoff team and moving in the right direction, even though it’s a virtual guarantee that the team takes a step backwards next year. as impossible as that seems, who are we going to add that’s better than tayshaun? he’s probably our best player right now. take him away, replace him with nothing, and i don’t care if you get jonas back and another good-not-great pick, you’re not any better.
     
    3) does it occur to anyone else that dajuan summers would bring a comparable contribution to this team to what charlie gives us? i can’t stand watching charlie play 15-ish minutes and score 13-ish points on too many shots while not defending or rebounding enough. they’re both okay but streaky shooters, questionable decision makers, and summers probably makes up the skills difference with hustle and energy and noticeably better defense. yet charlie makes ten times more and summers can’t crack the rotation. i don’t get it.

    • Feb 15, 20119:05 am
      by Patrick Hayes

      Reply

      I would be surprised if Summers shot 38 percent from three in a larger role as Villanueva does. But as you point out, for his cost, the dropoff wouldn’t be that precipitous. Although don’t assume Summers would hustle. He was known in college for all over the place effort, just like Villanueva has been known for in his career.

  • Feb 15, 20119:00 am
    by Tim

    Reply

    Yeah, I’ve often wondered why Summers gets so marginalized in the Pistons. I mean, I know they have way too many players who play a shade under mediocrity. But Summers could potentially be an asset if he ever played. And isn’t that what Joe D is all about? Piling up assets that have the potential to bring something back in trade but that he never actually uses to get something useful back. But if playing Summers could make Daye or Jerebko or someone expendable, it would make it so much easier to move Rip or Gordon or Maxiell.

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