It certainly sounds as though Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores is following the mantra that the Philadelphia 76ers adopted recently of trusting the process.
But while the 76ers are now one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, the Pistons are sputtering and have now lost 15 of their last 19 games, which is the second-worst stretch in the NBA. After being as high as fourth in the East, the Pistons have now dropped to ninth and out of a playoff spot.
But Gores is preaching positivity despite the adversity.
“I like this team,” Gores said. “I think they can work through the adversity. Whether we want to say it or not, this team expects to be in the playoffs. This team does expect excellence.”
The process was painful to watch, however, during Detroit’s lackluster 113-100 loss Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Lakers. Several players looked disinterested despite Gores sitting court side during a rare appearance at one of his team’s games. Afterwards, forward Blake Griffin was blunt about how the team has handled the Western road swing so far.
“I just thought we did a poor job of managing this trip so far,” Griffin said, offering no further specifics, leaving everyone to wonder exactly what that meant.
Also preaching positivity was head coach Dwane Casey, who recently said that his team wasn’t out of the playoff race by any means.
“Right now, we’re right where everybody predicted we would be, fighting for that last spot,” Casey said before the game. “My goal is to get higher. I don’t want to be complacent playing .500 basketball. We’re at the halfway point, a lot of basketball left, a lot of improvement. I’ve seen improvement; it’s just not showing the Ws.”
The Pistons need to figure things out in a hurry, because another season that began strong is in danger of once again finishing with disappointment. Since purchasing the team in 2011, Gores has seen his team in one playoff series, a four-game loss to Cleveland in 2016.
“We got to shoot better,” Gores said. “We all need help, but we just got to do simple things a little bit better. You know how close we’ve been in a lot of these games. We’re very, very close. We just got to stay the course.
“We got to trust the process.”