From the outside looking in, the Pistons were as big a mess as I've seen in the NBA in a long time... maybe ever. I struggle to find many redeeming qualities to the season. So when you ask a player "what the hell happened?", you should get an answer that somewhat captures the true crap that existed in Detroit.
“Last year, everything that possibly could have went wrong, went wrong. We had a lot of talent. There were a lot of issues in the front office, on the floor, with coaches, with players. It was just a mess. People from the outside looking in don’t realize how bad it was. It wasn’t conducive for playing basketball at a high level and it showed. It was pretty much what everybody saw. Some guys showed up to play. Some guys didn’t show up to play. Whatever point people were trying to prove by showing up or nothing showing up, those points were taken. Six guys showed up. Six guys played and a few other guys decided not to play that night. That was one of the uglier moments during the season. Moving forward, I don’t see that happening anymore. That was probably one of the lowest basketball moments I’ve ever been a part of. Because we’re all a team and we all shared that negative light. Regardless of who played that night, it was bad. But moving forward, I think the emphasis will be much different."
My initial reaction is "yeah, ya think?" But I figure I'll expand on that a little. I mean, that's why I get paid the big bucks, right?
I'm not sure if all the talk about things being different moving forward is a reference to John Kuester being gone or not. It can certainly be interpreted that way. And in the end, it is Kuester who is the biggest loser in all of this, especially if the Pistons regroup and play at least up to their talent level. If that happens, then Kuester looks especially bad for letting things go so wrong.
You can also interpret this as a bit of an internal rift. When Gordan talks about six guys showing up, a few other guys not playing, but they're still a team and the negative life shining on them all, it shows that not everyone on the team was thrilled with how some guys handled themselves. And Gordon's right about that.
We don't talk about half of the Pistons being a mess. We just say "Man, the Pistons were a mess last season." And we all know that the two main characters in that tragedy were Kuester and Rip Hamilton. But we never get that specific. When we think back on it, we remember a boycott and a whole lot of losing.
But I hope Gordon is right about it changing moving forward. I like Lawrence Frank and I do feel like a good Pistons team is good for the NBA. And good for Gordon for not sugar coating the past. That's a hard past to sugar coat anyway. You'd get diabetes if you tried.