Auburn Hills — There are two Stan Van Gundy's. There is the high-powered, high-energy, hacked-off Van Gundy who stormed the sidelines during the Pistons' Friday night game against the Toronto Raptors at The Palace.
Then there is the positive Van Gundy. He is the guy that talks in lower tones and tells his team he likes the work ethic even if he does not like the results on the floor. Players see that Van Gundy at practices and inside the training room at the practice facility as he prepares them for one more game.
"I have been pretty positive," Van Gundy said.
He's been positive because he believes part of the Pistons' woes are his fault. His job as coach and president is to figure out the product that he puts on the floor. He needs to figure out a way to make Brandon Jennings a more productive point guard, especially in the second half. He needs to find ways to keep Andre Drummond on the floor.
And, more importantly, he wants to win. The Pistons (5-21) owned the third-worst record heading into the Raptors game, just ahead of the New York Knicks (5-23) and the Philadelphia 76ers (2-22).
There are several ways to jump-start a team. One is to make a trade, which Van Gundy confirmed the team is looking to do. But trades are difficult to make and his first priority is to figure out the product that is currently on the floor.
He lectures his guys but does not want to wear them out with too much talk.
"You try to read it the best you can," Van Gundy said. "You talk to guys when you think it will benefit them and you stay away from them when you think it will benefit them. As individuals you talk to guys as you think they need it. But you can talk to a team too much and it loses its effect. I don't want to have meetings with guys every single day."
The Pistons' problem is they cannot shoot and teams seem to impose their will on them in the second half. For instance, the Pistons trailed Dallas by just two points at halftime Wednesday night and were down by as many as 19 points by the fourth quarter.
The Pistons believed they were playing good defense, but that fell apart when they played two of the best offensive teams in the game. The Los Angeles Clippers scored 113 points and Dallas 117. Toronto averages 107.3 points a game.
"We have to make stops and obviously we have to score more if we are going to win," guard Caron Butler said.
The one thing Van Gundy refuses to do is make a desperate trade to fix things. Sometimes teams believe they need to make a trade to win over fans or to enjoy short-term success. Van Gundy said the Pistons are listening to offers, but it does not mean he will make a trade.
"You never have to do anything," Van Gundy said. "If you get to that point you make bad mistakes, when you are getting to the point of desperation, you can cite example after example where you are rolling the dice. You never want to be in that situation where you are aggressively looking for deals that benefit your team in the short term and the long term."