The tide has shifted in Auburn Hills. Cutting the weight of Josh Smith has brought about a renewed Pistons effort that’s led to an impressive seven consecutive wins. Everything seems to be going right these days, and the attitude they’ve shown throughout has been doubly impressive.
Since the infamous move of waiving Josh Smith, the Pistons have seemed to develop a spark to them. The bench is more engaged, players are focused and playing well, and Stan Van Gundy even seems to have a bigger hop in his step. None of this is more evident than the epic battle cry from SVG that has since changed the entire Pistons dynamic in Detroit.
This team feels good about themselves, and rightfully so, for they’re creating a culture we haven’t seen in a long time. Of course the winning streak will end. It is likely that the Pistons will even back out into a .500 or so team, but the important factor in all of this is that the winning streak not only gives SVG something to call back on in case of rough times, and it also helps to build this team toward working together and trusting one another. Expecting a playoff run this early may be a little too optimistic, but for the near future this team is trending in the right direction.
None of this was more obvious than what occurred last night in Dallas. Per TrueHoop report, “At some point, like 4:40 to go, I turned to my assistants on the bench and said, ‘Do we want any subs?'” Van Gundy said. “And we had Brandon and Andre standing up going, ‘Hell no! This group’s rocking!’ So that’s what we’ve got right now attitude-wise. It’s different people every night and nobody seems very concerned about it. They just want to try to win games.”
Hearing that from Van Gundy is very refreshing. The fact there is less ego on this team and they are finally working together is a huge plus. The way Detroit has always worked was in the fabric of a team concept, and not a star concept. These players are finally buying in to what Van Gundy is selling, and they are relying more and more on each other without any egos or personality differences getting in the way. Even Dallas’ Chandler Parsons was noticing a difference in the team. “Night and day,” said Parsons, comparing the Pistons to the team Dallas beat in Detroit by double digits three weeks ago. “It’s all confidence. They obviously always had the talent. Same coach, same plays, same system. They’re just playing free and they have the confidence right now.”
The streak will end and things will even out, but for now it is great to see things on the right track. As fellow DSN writer previewed here on the upcoming stretch for Detroit, this is the true test of progress for this team and thus far it has been more than impressive. My hope is that Pistons fans can not only appreciate the winning streak for what it is for this season, but also to recognize the culture change that is being made by having this success as well. This season may result in a playoff spot, or it may not. But what is important, is that things are trending in the correct direction and Detroit Basketball is surely getting back to the top of the NBA in the near future, right where it belongs.