When Stan Van Gundy accepted the job as President of Basketball Operations and head coach for the Detroit Pistons he made it no secret that he would make the team his own. Almost immediately Van Gundy let go five staff members, including assistant coach Rasheed Wallace. Various men who had worked with Van Gundy in the past replaced them.
Continuing to surround himself with people from his past, Van Gundy next hired old college basketball rival Jeff Bower as the organization’s general manager.
Now assistant general manager George David, another remnant of the Joe Dumars years fades from the Detroit basketball scene. After working in Detroit 17 years, David resigned on July 1. Left behind by David are a NBA Championship and several seasons marred by underperformance.
What does this mean for the future of the Pistons?
All of these events add to the weight placed on Van Gundy for the upcoming season. Tom Gores may own the team, but it undoubtedly belongs to Van Gundy. He made that much clear when discussing who would win should a disagreement develop between Bower and himself.
The power consolidation in Detroit could be beneficial for the team. Since there will not be major power to fight Van Gundy, he will be free to implement his system the way he wants. With his first draft as Pistons president out of the way, Van Gundy is steamrolling toward the season he wants.
This also means that Van Gundy will be a huge target for anything that goes wrong administratively this season. Dumars served as a punching bag from time to time when things went wrong in Detroit, such as the Ben Gordon deal. Taking over that responsibility is probably not what Van Gundy sought when he signed with Detroit, however this is not the first time he will be the center of the blame.
While coaching the Orlando Magic, Van Gundy received large amounts of scrutiny for the team’s performance. Whether or not Van Gundy deserved or will deserve it, the cross is his to bear for now as he put this team together.
Colin Jackson is a multimedia journalist for Impact Sports.