No-one expected miracles from Stan van Gundy at the Detroit Pistons. But there must be times when the former Magic coach wishes he were either back in Orlando or with a radio microphone in his hand.
The only thing moving quickly in the Motor City is Andre Drummond who exemplified the mood for chaos by posting a photo of him driving at 100 miles per hour online.
Otherwise, it’s slow-slow-start with the Pistons reeling after 12 consecutive defeats headed into tonight’s home clash with the Portland Trail Blazers.
The problem for van Gundy is that there are almost no redeeming features about his existing roster, or at least none worth a long-term fixture.
The front line of Andre Drummond, Josh Smith and Kyle Singler has some talent but minimal reliability.
Brandon Jennings’ average of 6.2 assists is respectable but a team tally of 19.5 per game is 27th in the NBA, only one place higher than their scoring clip of 93.1 per night.
Detroit, priced at 3.45 for the upset, are easily on pace to miss the mark of 29 victories in each of the past two seasons and it could take 2-3 years before their coach and GM has any hope of a proper re-build.
Even then, it’s likely the Pistons would run into the roadblock of Cleveland and Chicago in their own division, plus Indiana once Paul George returns. It’s a far cry from the era of the Bad Boys or even the side of the early-2000s that rode toughness to a title.
Sometimes, even amid the supposed parity of the NBA, you can fall into a circle of decay. It is going to require some miracles for Stan The Man to break that spell.
Portland, giving up just 96.0 points per game, could see LaMarcus Aldridge limited a little by Drummond. But Damian Lillard, presently putting up 19.9 points per night, should profit from the freedom to roam with the guard – like the Blazers - set for a spree.
Best bet: Take Portland on a handicap of -12.5 over Detroit at 2.95