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Pistons formally introduce Van Gundy

Stan Van Gundy confident he can handle multiple roles with Detroit Pistons

Posted on May 15, 2014 at 5:17 p.m.

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) — Stan Van Gundy expects the Detroit Pistons’ front office to be on the same page as the coaching staff.

That shouldn’t be too much to ask, considering he’ll be part of both.

“One of the big problems at least in our league right now in a lot of places is there is not a great connection necessarily between front office and coaching,” Van Gundy said. “This setup — nothing to do with power — it allows us to really create a tremendous synergy and a very unified organization.”

Van Gundy was formally introduced by the Pistons on Thursday as their coach and president of basketball operations. Detroit went 29-53 last season, missing the playoffs for a fifth straight year. That was the end of Joe Dumars’ tenure as team president. Coach Maurice Cheeks was fired in February and replaced on an interim basis by John Loyer.

Van Gundy’s coaching is well respected — he went 371-208 in seven-plus seasons with Miami and Orlando — but now he’ll have the added responsibility of handling personnel matters. It’s rare for one person to have that much control in the NBA, but Doc Rivers does both jobs for the Los Angeles Clippers.

“This is the most important decision we have made as an organization,” said Tom Gores, who took over as the team’s owner in 2011. “Not only did we hire a coach and president of basketball, we are resetting the culture of the franchise. I’m so confident that this is going to work.”

The Pistons have changed coaches quite a bit in recent years, but this is by far the biggest organizational shakeup in some time. Dumars had been president for 14 years before stepping down as this season drew to a close.

Van Gundy inherits a roster that has a few talented players but looked dysfunctional on the court for much of last season. Detroit’s Andre Drummond is one of the game’s top young big men — and Van Gundy has experience coaching big men like Shaquille O’Neal in Miami and Dwight Howard in Orlando.

“I think we have two responsibilities to Andre Drummond that will help our team, and that is, number one, to do everything we possibly can to develop him as a player,” Van Gundy said. “And then secondly, we have a responsibility to put a system and personnel around him that allow him to thrive.”

Greg Monroe is a restricted free agent, and both Rodney Stuckey and Charlie Villanueva are unrestricted.

“I want to start the process by sitting down with Greg face to face, talking about how he sees himself, how he sees our organization, and giving me a chance to talk to him about my vision for what goes on and how I think we can create a system that will fully maximize his abilities,” Van Gundy said.

Monroe, Drummond and Josh Smith can all be effective around the basket, but last season’s Pistons did not shoot well from the perimeter. And Detroit will lose this year’s first-round draft pick if it’s not in the top eight — part of a previous trade with Charlotte.

But with a five-year deal worth $35 million, it looks like Van Gundy will have time to turn this team around.

“Part of what we hired here is the emotions,” Gores said. “That’s what I want. He cares. He’s got a passion. The reason he’s so prepared is he stays up at night thinking about things.”

The Pistons are desperate to become relevant again in the Motor City, where they’ve been an afterthought lately. Hiring Van Gundy has certainly created a buzz, but now he and Gores are both under pressure to restore the franchise’s luster.

“There’s no excuses now,” Van Gundy said. “What happens a lot of times in this thing is — and I know because I talk to coaches all the time. Coaches say, ‘I’m doing a great job but this guy is not getting me good enough players.‘ And the front office is telling ownership, ‘We put together a great roster and the coach is screwing it up.‘

“There’s none of that anymore. It’s on us to get it done.”




 Detroit Pistons' President/Head Coach Stan Van Gundy, center, introduces new team members, DJ Augustin, left, and Caron Butler during a press conference introducing the team's free agent acquisitions at The Palace of Auburn Hills, Tuesday, July 15, 2014 in Auburn Hills, Mich. Detroit introduced D.J. Augustin and Caron Butler at a news conference Tuesday after signing the two free agents. The 6-foot-7 Butler played 56 games last season for Milwaukee and Oklahoma City, averaging 10.5 points and shooting 39 percent from 3-point range. Augustin was waived by Toronto early last season, but the 26-year-old point guard caught on with Chicago and averaged 13.1 points for the season. He shot 40 percent from beyond the arc.  (AP Photo/Detroit News, Clarence Tabb Jr)  DETROIT FREE PRESS OUT; HUFFINGTON POST OUT

Updated on July 16, 2014 at 7:08 p.m.
 Detroit Pistons guard Jodie Meeks is followed by the media as he holds his new jersey at the team's practice facility in Auburn Hills, Mich., Monday, July 14, 2014. The Pistons hope he can provide some much-needed perimeter shooting this season under new coach Stan Van Gundy. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

Updated on July 14, 2014 at 3:12 p.m.

Updated on July 13, 2014 at 11:36 p.m.
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