Tom Gores on board with Troy Weaver's 'thoughtfully aggressive' plan for Pistons
Detroit — Within a matter of days, the Pistons underwent a significant overhaul, with general manager Troy Weaver transforming the roster from the 20-46 team that finished the season with a whimper.
In the opening hours of trade season, continuing into the draft and through free agency, Weaver made significant moves, all with team owner Tom Gores watching intently, and endorsing the changes.
The Pistons ended up with three first-round draft picks and four new players in their starting lineup. They have just four players returning from last season — and the early analysis is that it’s going to take some time for the chemistry to develop and for the new players to jell.
That’s all part of the bigger plan, and Gores is on board.
“We're very young, but what Troy wanted to do, I didn't know we would do it as quickly as we did. To get three first-round picks I think was a win for us,” Gores said Saturday night. “We have to see how those young men develop, but I'd say the thing Troy did right away was he really owned this.
“He didn't sit back and worry about it. He was thoughtfully aggressive, and he owned it.”
At the start of last season, with Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson, along with Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose, much of the focus was on the veterans, with some young players sprinkled around them to try to make a playoff run.
This season, that whole script has been flipped. Now, it’s on the young core, with some of the veterans around them to help create a new culture and to focus on building for the long term. It’s a stark change that signals a long-term rebuild, but Weaver’s plan is to make it a shorter project that restores many of the tenets of the Pistons' championship teams of the past.
“We have a very, very young team and we did need to take a different direction; we just weren't making enough progress,” Gores said. “Troy, I’ll give him this, he was a new person with us, and he wasn't afraid. Every player that we ended up drafting, he really knew those players well. He knew it because he saw them work out and he knows them as players. He has real clarity on the kind of player he likes.”
Under Weaver’s leadership, the Pistons have a new foundation of young players to build around, including No. 7 overall pick Killian Hayes and fellow first-round picks Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey. Adding Jerami Grant, Mason Plumlee, Josh Jackson and others helped round out the roster with veteran experience to augment the young core.
Weaver clearly has a blueprint of the basketball DNA he wanted, and getting the draft picks and players he wanted was a huge undertaking, but it’ll shape the Pistons’ culture and style more than anything else.
“Troy had specific basketball things he wanted — length and certain basketball skills — and then in his mind, he wanted more people on the floor fighting for the ball and that grit, and that toughness, and he felt that we didn't have enough of it,” Gores said. “Just to be really frank that's one of the things that he really went after. … I just know that hard work is what it takes, and I think this is something that Troy — he won't tolerate anything that's not hard work. The other thing with Troy and bringing him on is that him and coach Dwane (Casey) really had a nice chemistry, talking about things.”