The Detroit Pistons 2019-2020 campaign officially commenced when Media Day kicked off at 1 p.m. today in Auburn Hills.
Players met with members of the press and discussed, among other things, their expectations for the upcoming season.
This marked the first opportunity for Pistons fans to hear from newcomers Derrick Rose, Joe Johnson, and Markieff Morris.
Palace of Pistons brings you a full recap from the Detroit Pistons 2019-2020 Media Day.
Ed Stefanski took the podium shortly after 1 p.m. and began by describing the “tingle” he gets around this time of year as a new season approaches.
“I really believe in the offseason… a trade, with the funds we had available in free agency, we got players here that there’s no question our depth has improved,”
Stefanski touched on the Pistons offseason, implying that they are in a better position, he feels, than in years past. He pointed to the team’s offseason trade for Tony Snell and signings of Derrick Rose, Markeiff Morris, and Tim Frazier.
“The best thing I’ve done here, in a little over a year and a half, is bring in Dwane Casey,”
Stefanski praised Dwane Casey, citing him as the one of the central reasons for the shift in culture throughout the organization the past year.
“There could be more (trade) options as the preseason moves on,”
Stefanski also referenced the contracts of Joe Johnson and Christian Wood when analyzing the possibility of keeping both of them on the roster for the 2019-20 season.
“We don’t want to run him into the ground,”
When asked about Blake Griffin, Stefanski preached more of the same gospel that fans have been hearing, saying the team will be very cautious and analytic when doling out his minutes this season.
“We have the best medical and performance staff in the NBA … with Arnie Kander as a consultant,”
Stefanski closed with talking a little about his confidence with the medical staff and how highly he views them in comparison to the rest of the league.
Pistons head coach Dwane Casey took the podium next, beginning his time by offering condolences to the family and friends of Fred McLeod, the late Cavaliers play-by-play commentator who was formerly voice of the Pistons from 1984-2006.
“From February 1st to April 1st … we were far more efficient … as simple as it sounds, we made shots,”on the Pistons improvements on offense
Casey led off by referencing the team’s identity as a three-point shooting club and highlighted an end of the season run this past spring when the Pistons were one of the better three point shooting teams in the NBA. He noted that the Pistons were simply making the shots they had been creating all year during this stretch of time.
“We were number one going into the All-Star break (in three-point defense), so that was an area that was a big positive for us on the defensive end,”on three-point defense
Casey pointed out that last season, although the Pistons struggled protecting the rim, they actually led the league in three-point defense for a time, singling it out as something to build upon defensively during the 2019-20 campaign.
“The guys that were here last year are probably gonna be bored,”on new players
When addressing the eight new faces on this years roster, Casey quipped that his returning players may be wiping cobwebs from their eyes for the first part of camp as Casey starts from scratch to acclimate everyone into the system.
“He doesn’t fit well with the first unit, but he is one of our most talented players,”on Luke Kennard starting
Casey hinted at the idea of Luke Kennard coming off the bench once again this season, referencing numbers which show Kennard’s value was much higher with the second unit last year, while acknowledging that they will still be evaluating how he can interact with the starters throughout camp and the preseason.
“We want to be prudent … I have to be smarter about how we use guys from a practice standpoint, shoot-around, and utilize that information as much as possible,”on load management and monitoring minutes
Casey noted that there will be an emphasis on monitoring not only the minutes delegated to guys in games, but also their workload in practice and all basketball-related activity. The staff has a clear focus on maintaining the health of the roster and having all hands on deck come April.
“There’s a number we have for that,”on mid-range shots
A small, but interesting note. Casey mentioned there being a number on mid-range shots that the Pistons aim to incorporate into the offense. Although the mid-range shot is dying, it will still be featured in some (analytically approved) looks for the team.
“I see a big year for him this year, just for it being year three for him,”on expectations for Luke Kennard this year
There is a collective breath being held for Luke Kennard to explode onto the scene this season, and many within the organization expect to have air flow as soon as next month. While Kennard has shown reason for optimism in his evolution, year three is historically a year where NBA players make their first major stride.
“We’re trying to utilize his athleticism, his speed, his ball handling,”on Andre Drummond’s growing strengths
Casey noted that center Andre Drummond has been working on conditioning and ball handling during the offseason, suggesting that Drummond may be looked upon for much more than just post offense this season.
“If we just set him down in the paint or on the block, that wouldn’t be advantageous to us,”on Andre Drummond’s role in the offense
Casey also alluded to Drummond having a ranging and unique role in the offense. Whether it is operating out of the pick and roll, operating out of the post, or having a larger role on the perimeter, expect more experimentation with opening up the 26-year-old’s offensive game.
“I take pride in our (player) development program”on summer improvements with younger players
Casey was high on the player development staff for their work in the summer with the younger players on the roster. Staff members spent their entire summers traveling and training with players, helping them to improve on weaknesses.
“It was a great surprise to us last year,”on Blake Griffin’s evolution in regard to the modern NBA game
Blake Griffin had a career year last season, and some of his output was unexpected, even from Casey. Expressing admiration for his star player, Casey mentioned what a pleasant shock it was that Griffin had retooled himself and his game so much to where he could extend to the perimeter, operate out of the pick and roll, and execute the offense from the point forward position.
He has put the money where his mouth is, as far as into the resources, into the new practice facility … He’s willing to spend money,”on Pistons Governor Tom Gores
Pistons Governor Tom Gores receives a lot of grief from the fanbase due to his perceived lack of devotion to winning. Casey expressed some rebuffing to those sentiments by gushing for a moment about Gores and his commitment to the team, the players, the staff, and the city of Detroit.
“Not saying we’re ready for a championship,”on building the foundation for the future
Casey wrapped up his portion of Media Day by reiterating that there is still a foundation being built with this team. Yes, the goal is to bring championships back to Detroit, but Casey cautions fans that it is still a work in progress, and fans should focus on just enjoying the ride for now.
“I sort of consider this summer a healthy summer,”on health during summer and heading into the season
“I thought we did an unbelievable job,”on front office performance in free agency
“I’m really, really looking forward to finally lacing them up together on the same, real team,”on Derrick Rose
“Finding our identity as a team, I think that’s going to be sort of a big theme during this training camp,”on the Pistons focus as they head into training camp
“I’m a believer in science,”on load management
“It’s not for me to decide how much I play or how much I practice or anything like that,”on his involvement with playing time decisions
“We have to be a team that’s going to outplay everyone,”on the Pistons style of play
“A big point of emphasis this year is going to be playing better on the road,”on the importance of playing well away from home
“One of the reasons I wanted to come here is because of the depth of the team, we have a very long team,”on the reason he picked Detroit
“Being in the East, you never know what could happenon the opportunity for Pistons to make a deep run
“How would you like to live in Detroit?”a question repeatedly posed to Rose by Arn Tellem in the past
“I got all the accolades in the past, I’m past that. Now, I want to win, that’s the only thing on my resume that I’m missing,”on his personal goals at this stage of his career
“I feel like I’m a better player now, I’m more poised, I’m shooting the three, I’m more efficient … People love to see the reckless side, the reckless way that I played, and the reckless way that I played that led me to my injuries, I believe,”on his current game
“His IQ is very high, he know how the game is evolving and how he has to adapt, so with me seeing that, of course I would love to play with a player like that,”on playing with Blake Griffin
It’s a new year, we have new people on the team, and you gotta have expectations and goals … The goal is to do better than last year,”on the Pistons goal-setting for the 2019-20 season
“We know what we have on this team, and one of the reasons why I signed so early is because I see something, it’s something that you all may not see, but I see something,”on Detroit’s chances of postseason success
“I’m trying to grow as a leader and as a person … One of my goals is to be vocal in the locker room,”on his off the court goals
“Proper preparation prevents poor performance,”on monitoring his minutes and load management
Featured Image: @DetroitPistons on Twitter