Former Toronto Raptors head coach Dwane Casey was named as the head coach of Detroit Pistons on Monday morning. The Pistons finally were able to lock up 2017’s Coach of the Year to a five-year contract which will pay him $7 million annually. Here’s how this hiring will impact Detroit’s future with the current roster and a lone draft pick in June 21’s draft:
Playing it safe
The Pistons interviewed a couple outside-the-box candidates like TNT’s Kenny Smith and the University of Michigan’s John Beilein but they ultimately went with the guy with NBA coaching experience. Casey is a man who’s well respected by his players and peers around the league for good reason. With the Toronto Raptors to the Eastern Conference Finals twice in three years.
Without a general manager or a president of basketball operations the Pistons didn’t want to take any chances which isn’t necessarily good or bad. However, thinking outside the box is why the Boston Celtics have the best coach in basketball in Brad Stevens.Perhaps taking a chance would’ve been a breath of fresh air from a stuck franchise.
Expect better player development
Under Stan Van Gundy, young players like Stanley Johnson and Henry Ellenson never improved, they almost regressed due to the lack of minutes Van Gundy gave them in their first two seasons. Under Casey, the Toronto Raptors were able to develop young players drafted outside the lottery and turn them into valuable assets. Fred VanVleet, OG Anunoby, Delon Wright and Pascal Siakam were all drafted outside the top 20 in their respective drafts and now all look to be major contributors for the Raptors in the next three to five years.
This type of development will be essential for the Pistons due to the lack of financial flexibility they’ll have the next four years with Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond’s max contracts on the books. Expect improvements from Stanley Johnson, Henry Ellenson and Luke Kennard in the following season with Casey at the helm based simply on the opportunities he’ll give them.
A good sign for Reggie Jackson
When Kyle Lowry was traded to Toronto, Lowry was known as a good player with questionable coachability. Casey changed that for Lowry, and that same trait could be said about Reggie Jackson. Guard play in the NBA is key to success even with talented bigs like Drummond and Griffin. In today’s NBA the game is played on the perimeter, for the Pistons to be a top-four team in the East, Jackson must be effective. Casey has had a knack for putting his point guards in positions to succeed, it was seen with Lowry, Vanvleet, and Wright in Toronto.Casey will continue to run pick-and-roll sets with Jackson but don’t expect him to give the freedom he was given to play hero ball in late-clock or late-game situations, look for more motion in key situations which will do Jackson well.
Most expect the Pistons to improve next season but it’ll be interesting what Casey can do to make Detroit a threat in the East.