From Valenti And Foster
Everyone needs to calm down. Tayshaun Prince is who he is. He is not being traded tomorrow. John Kuester is asking for more from his players and now, actually standing up for himself. This is something that Pistons fans are not used to, a coach giving it back to some of his players. Last night, Prince and Kuester jawed at each other, and some scribes believe that this signals doom. I will play the opposite card. I liked it. It was needed. I also know for a fact that Pistons brass is welcoming some fire and brimstone, from all parties involved.
There is a difference between what Tayshaun did last night and what Rodney Stuckey did two weeks ago in Atlanta. Prince cares. A lot. He is dying to win and get on a roll and as a veteran is very frustrated. Does Tayshaun dislike Kuester? From what I have been told, no. He just wants to be coached and as he admitted last night, some times gets rubbed the wrong way. To his credit, he knew he made a mistake last night but getting overly confrontational and admitted to it. Rodney has not said anything about his mistakes from two weeks ago. He has moved on and is now playing hard, tuning in to Kuester, and seems to be behaving. When the Pistons were winning games under Ricknation, Larry Brown, Flip Saunders, and even Mike Curry, there were always episodes. It wouldn’t be the Pistons if there wasn’t some bickering (I know.. Sheed is gone). But this time, I have it on good authority that the coach will not be shoved under the bus. John Kuester is going nowhere.
Joe Dumars is well aware of the hand he has been dealt. He will not complain about it, and he will not talk about anything but winning. No excuses. This team should make the playoffs. Small team, heavy at the 2 and 3 spot, whatever. Joe wants playoffs. So does Kuester. John, though, has needed to put his stamp on this team and drop the “Mr. Nice Guy” label. He benched Stuckey for a game and a half and last night, he went right back at Prince. I had no issue with it. Why would he bench Tayshaun after that? The team was down 32 and getting smoked! Tayshaun did not “ignore” Kue at halfcourt and he has also not blistered him at any shoot-arounds as far as I know. Kue probably should not have gone public after the Boston game and cried out for help from his veteran leadership, but you know what? Kue NEEDS those leaders to talk and once and a while act out, and from what I know of Joe D, the boss is in full agreement. Did Joe ever publicly reprimand Rasheed Wallace for his vocal outburts? No. Because some of those did aid in the team recapturing its focus and winning basketball games. If Sheed crossed the line, Dumars had his talks with his power forward and also had his talks with Saunders (we know how that movie ended). I talked to Tayshaun in October and he likes it here and wants to win. If he “hated” Kuester, he’d be gone and has earned the right (like Chauncey was) to be dealt somewhere that he was happy with.
The Pistons are 4-7. They have lost a handful of games already that they easily could have and should have won. Those games were lost at the end of games, where some of the veterans just stood and watched. Now they are being asked to lead and show some emotion. Lets see how it plays out. It nearly worked last night down 32 points.