Pistons GM Jeff Bower talks Stanley Johnson, Andre Drummond & more in interview with The Vertical

Detroit Pistons general manager Jeff Bower took time out of his busy schedule to sit down with Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports this week, appearing on The Vertical Podcast, covering topics ranging from Stanley Johnson’s battle with LeBron James, Andre Drummond’s free throw struggles, the difficulties of scouting and more.

On rookie Stanley Johnson’s mini-feud with LeBron James during the Pistons’ first round series against the Cavaliers:

[Stanley Johnson] didn’t back down. He didn’t shy away beforehand. Those are things he can build off of. And also, to feel how difficult a task it really was and to actually have to continuously compete against one of the greatest athletes in the world with all of his experience is something that will long be remembered and felt.

On Andre Drummond’s free throw woes:

The great thing is that it’s something that Andre wants to get fixed and that Andre wants to improve.
Obviously Andre is able to impact games and his rebounding is really unique but he has to be on the floor to do it… There isn’t any one solution or magic pill. It’s a combination of technique, of mental conditioning, of muscle memory, all rolled into being able to reproduce all of those things in the pressure moment.
It’s a long term application to getting progress.

On Detroit’s unique front office setup in which Bower assumes managerial control over the course of the season while a large front office staff, including scouts who cover every single NBA game over the course of the season (over 1,200 games in all), come together to achieve a higher goal:

I think it is somewhat unique in that we all have the same outlook. From ownership to the president and head coach to the general manager to the assistant general manager to all of our scouts. When we put the group together, we wanted to get a group totally made up of individuals with their own unique experiences, but the one thing they all shared in common was their commitment to winning, their understanding of place within a team of executives and front office executive and players and scouts; so that was a big part of all this.

Lastly, on the difficulty of international scouting and how it’s important to be aware of exactly what you’re getting when drafting overseas (*cough* Darko *cough*):

I think the difficulty comes in knowing whats real and imagined as it relates to the information that you’re getting. I think that is a really important part of the whole puzzle when you’re talking about the international players.

The combination of Bower, owner Tom Gores and head coach Stan Van Gundy seems to finally be getting the Pistons back on track. Let’s hope it stays that way.

Listen to Bower’s full interview on The Vertical podcast here.