Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy has a lively discussion with Mike Valenti

Detroit Pistons head coach and President, Stan Van Gundy, certainly isn’t shy about voicing his opinion. On Wednesday afternoon, he joined Mike Valenti on 97.1 The Ticket to discuss the team’s radio broadcasts returning to the station, as well as some of the issues that face the team.

However, the most interesting part of the conversation was Van Gundy’s clear opposition to tanking to achieve better draft position, something that Valenti has advocated.

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“I think you keep building the best team you can build,” Van Gundy told the Mike Valenti Show on 97.1 The Ticket. “Look, between ownership and us, we decided when we got here – it had been five years without the playoffs – there certainly wasn’t the stomach for doing a teardown even greater and trying to lose for another five years. That’s easy, losing is easy, but I don’t necessarily think it’s the only way to go about things and it’s certainly not the way we’re going to go about things here.”

Van Gundy continued by talking about the situation with the Philadelphia 76ers, who tanked under former GM Sam Hinkie, whom Valenti floated the idea of Detroit hiring to “burn it to the ground”. Van Gundy, however, isn’t a fan of that strategy.

“You can like or dislike the strategy,” Van Gundy explained. “I will say this: Sam’s a really smart guy but I think the brilliance of the strategy has been overplayed. If you decide you wanna lose at historic levels for four or five years, it’s really not hard to pull off. I can go out and lose every single night, that’s an easy thing to do in this league.”

“There’s a lot of teams that are going to contend for a playoff spot, but four years of historic losing to contend for the eighth spot in the playoffs? How quickly do you think they’re going to be able to contend (for a championship) to make those four years of historic losing worth it? The second thing I’d ask you is, when has that approach worked? Who’s won the championship coming from that?”

When it was pointed out that the San Antonio Spurs did so in order to draft Tim Duncan, Van Gundy scoffed.

“One time, one year. Not multiple years, that’s the thing,” said Van Gundy. “To me, especially the multi-year losing, it’s hard to get out of. And nobody’s done it.”

Van Gundy later went on to acknowledge that the Pistons aren’t a prime free-agent destination, and that the team is attempting to build through trades and lower-priced acquisitions.

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“We thought since the day I came in here that the primary way for us to get better in Detroit, with what had happened in the years before we got here, was going to be through trades and smart, lower-budget free agent acquisitions,” said Van Gundy. “I think overall we’ve done a pretty good job of that and that’s the way we have to continue to go.”

The Pistons will play in downtown Detroit for the first time in decades at Little Caesars Arena, moving from the Palace of Auburn Hills where they’ve played since the late 1980’s.

Written by Michael Whitaker

Always at the front lines of Detroit Sports.

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