We can all remember the days when Detroit sports fans were proudly proclaiming Detroit Pistons head coach/team president Stan Van Gundy as far and away the best coach the town had to offer on the professional sports level.
In the words of the great Bob Dylan – “the times they are a changin'”.
The Pistons are an inconsistent mess – they won seven of ten games before the 1-6 rut they currently appear to be stuck in.
Andre Drummond's elite rebounding rates and random spurts of scoring from Reggie Jackson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope have done nothing to help. Van Gundy is known as a player agitator who has no problem publicly berating his team in hopes of some sort of miracle motivational turnaround.
Sometimes it works. This time around there seems to be an issue so immersed inside the Pistons locker room, that it's beginning to become apparent to all of us.
The Detroit Pistons are quitting on their head coach and at one of the worst possible times to do so.
In a season that had many pinning the Pistons as a young, Eastern conference riser and playoff threat, the team has instead dealt with a problem that has for centuries shined a bright light on losers: something called effort.
The Pistons have started tremendously slow coming out of the locker room – they got outscored in the first and third quarters 64-43 in Wednesday's loss to the Chicago Bulls. On Tuesday, they were outscored 28-13 in the second quarter by the 14-win Brooklyn Nets and went on to lose by two.
The Pistons just cannot seem to put a whole game together. At least SVG kind of shoulders some of the blame.
It starts with me; I’m the person in charge. I selected everybody in that locker room. I’m the one who wanted them in there; I decide who plays and I put lineups out there and defensive coverages and call plays. – Stan Van Gundy after Wednesday's Loss to Chicago
Yet, the question remains – how does he fix it? How does Van Gundy get them, in simplest of terms, to care?
How does he get Andre Drummond to play hard (like the cornerstone of a franchise hard) game in and game out instead of just like 80%?
And you can blame scheme and injuries if you would like to but when does SVG awaken the lost soul that is paid like a franchise point guard – Reggie Jackson? Is Ish Smith really who we want to go on a playoff push with <insert sideward eyeball emoji>?
Lastly, I think this week's sudden downfall has many fans, including myself, actually start to believe that the Pistons will not make the playoffs. Does it really matter at this point to push for an eighth seed and get obliterated in four games by LeBron?
I'm certain these meetings would not be as closely contested as last year's Round 1 loss – not the way the Pistons are looking at this point. The Pistons NEED a 5-7 seed (they're not catching anything higher) in order to inspire any hope in a playoff series win to the long-faithful yet temporarily quiet Piston fanbase.
Stan The Man seems to be Stan The Lost Man in his current ordeal. He's shot of ideas and you can see it bright as day – his confidence and his player's confidence is descending at speeds that can send them from playoff bubble to the NBA lottery quicker than we all expect.
How would I fix it you ask? I'm not sure.
You kind of want something or you don't, you know?