Any progress the Pistons made by making the playoffs two seasons ago evaporated last season.
Spending more time with a losing record than not, there was a lot more bark than bite with the team a year ago.
“We did a lot of talking last year,” guard Ish Smith said.
“The year I had last year is not who I was, that’s not the player I’m supposed to represent for this city so for me I took that slap on the wrist as it’s time to wake up,” center Andre Drummond added.
And what a time to be alive. A new home and a revamped roster, while young, feels the opportunity in front of them, even if it comes with raised expectations.
“I don’t have any problem with people holding us accountable to that and I would say that the guys in the locker room don’t have a problem with that,” Van Gundy said.
“We got nothing to lose to be honest with you, what expectations does anyone have for us? What we got to do is take it personal, go out there and play the game,” Smith added.
“Can’t do anything about last year, we just want to be a team that’s remembered this year,” point guard Reggie Jackson added.
“You want the energy and you want the expectations that you’re going to go out and play well, I’m looking forward to it,” Van Gundy said.
If you’re into ranking teams on star power, the Pistons don’t boast a ton of it. But neither did the last group who won a title in Detroit, who won it with defense and a team mentality.
“We have to be a team that goes out there and fights every single night, with a defensive mindset and I feel like that’s going to give USA chance every single night,” guard Avery Bradley said.
“We got a lot of guys who are smart and tough, that alone will make you pretty good, and then I think we’ve got a couple of guys who have the capability of being big, big time defenders,” Van Gundy added.
Training camp has been underway all week, and this new look team opens Up their preseason slate on Wednesday.