Van Gundy says no one on roster is "untouchable"

AUBURN HILLS (WXYZ) - In his first meeting with the media since first being introduced as president and head coach last month, Stan Van Gundy specifically addressed some of the key issues facing his new team.

Moments after introducing Jeff Bower as his new general manager, Van Gundy set up camp in the Pistons "Courtside Cafe" inside the Palace of Auburn Hills to answer a series of question about his players.

As expected, he was frank, honest and open with his opinions.

“When you’ve lost 50+ games for four straight years, untouchable does not apply,” said Van Gundy when asked if anyone on the roster is untouchable this offseason. “You can’t look at that and say, ‘Yeah, this is really working well. Let’s keep it together.’ There’s a lot of guys on the roster I really like, but untouchable would be going too far.”

Andre Drummond is considered by many to be the Pistons franchise player. Without a first-round draft choice and with the strong possibility of losing Greg Monroe to free agency, it’s evidently not impossible to envision Van Gundy and the Pistons making any move possible to improve the team - even if it means moving Drummond.

“Untouchable gets to be, maybe, when you’re winning 55-60 you might have some of those guys, but not when you’re winning 29.”

The Pistons haven’t played in the postseason since 2009, when they were swept by the Cavaliers in the opening round.

“Players need to make some changes,” said Van Gundy. “I’ve talked about that so I’m not talking behind their back. As a group, we’ve got to play a lot harder.”

Van Gundy once again stressed a commitment to defense and effort on the floor, but wouldn’t say the team would have won more games last season with him at the helm.

“I would never say I could have won more games with a certain team,” said Van Gundy, “What I’m saying is - a lot of it’s on the players. Like, you know, Come on! Am I saying they could have won more than 29 games? Probably, but I’m not putting that on Maurice Cheeks and John Loyer. I’m not saying I could have won more. I’m saying they could have won more as players if they put more into it and take a different approach.”

Josh Smith, acquired last offseason and under contract through 2017, has been the target of the most criticism, particularly considering he’s owed more than $40 million until then.

“It’s not fair, or even close to fair, to pin last year on Josh or on any one other guy,” said Van Gundy. “That team, in a lot ways, did not put into the game what needs to be put into the game to be successful.

“There are a lot of guys who did not play to the level they’re capable of playing, and again, they have to change their approach - put more into the game.”