Dwane Casey looks at the Detroit Pistons roster he inherited and sees a core of players capable of a lot more than they accomplished last year. Detroit’s performance in 2018-19 may depend largely on what Casey and his staff can get out of a group that fell short under Van Gundy. Casey, last season’s NBA coach of the year after leading the Raptors to a team-record 59 wins, lost his job after Toronto was swept in the playoffs by Cleveland. Without a first round pick and limited cap space, the Pistons brass knew major progress would have to come from within – by developing the talent currently on the roster, including their three most recent first round picks (Stanley Johnson, Henry Ellenson, and Luke Kennard) who have had disappointing starts to their careers.
Put another way, it’s not merely about improving skill – it’s about identifying how each player fits into Casey’s scheme, what skills they need to hone to fill that fit most seamlessly and then staying disciplined to that agenda. “Who are you as a player and what are your strengths and what do you need to do for your positions and then how do you need to operate within the framework of the team?” is how Sean Sweeney, the Casey assistant who’ll coach the Pistons Summer League entry, described it. “There’s development to play and there’s development to do more and so you want to strike the balance between those two.”