Detroit Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy wants more improvement from his star center Andre Drummond and forward Stanley Johnson. In a recent interview, the veteran mentor said that he wants to see a more consistent effort from his star player and better focus for one of his young players.
The Pistons were not immune to rumors and speculations about trades and free agency signings this summer but they will be returning with their core intact from last season, including franchise player Andre Drummond, who signed a long-term deal with the team this 2016 offseason.
“He’s still so young, but he’s been in the league long enough. He’s got to really just do what it takes on the mental level to get himself ready to play every night and get himself focused at that level and that hasn’t quite happened yet,” Van Gundy, who took over the coaching department in Detroit in 2014, said to NBA.com about Drummond.
“Now, it’s improved every year, which is good. But he’s not quite there all the time to where he’s ready to go,”
Van Gundy is one of the most outspoken coaches in the league and his honesty about his franchise player’s lack of consistent effort is not surprising. However, Van Gundy admitted as well that he’s glad of Drummond’s performance against the Cleveland Cavaliers last NBA Playoffs and the work he has put in this summer.
On Johnson, Van Gundy admitted that coaching him is an “ongoing challenge.”
“It’s an ongoing challenge, for him and for us. But the strength Stanley has is he’s got a tremendous passion for the game and tremendous desire to be great. He’s as good a competitor as you’ll find in this league, as young as he is,” Van Gundy said about Johnson.
“What goes along with that is a stubbornness, to some degree. At times, I’ll be honest – working with him can be a little bit frustrating because of that. He thinks he knows the way to do it.”
For the Detroit Pistons to be successful next season, both Drummond and Johnson have to improve and mature and be more focused inside the court.
Drummond, who had career-highs of 16.2 points, 14.8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game last year, is the centerpiece in Detroit’s line-up and if he turns into a superstar, the Pistons will improve tremendously after making the playoffs as an eighth seed last year.
Johnson will be entering his second year after averaging 8.1 points and 4.2 rebounds per game last year.
Drummond and Johnson are part of the Pistons squad that is expected to battle for a homecourt advantage for the NBA Playoffs. Other featured players are guards Reggie Jackson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and forwards Marcus Morris and Tobias Harris.
Despite the many NBA rumors this offseason, the Pistons have decided to stay put and stick with their core players.
Stan Van Gundy wants more consistency and focus from two of their best players, if they follow their head coach’s lead the Detroit Pistons might be one of the top contenders in the Eastern Conference next season.
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