By: Will Burchfield
The Pistons are 21-25 through the first 46 games of the season and Stan Van Gundy is shouldering much of the blame.
“As a coach, my job is to get the best out of the talent we have, and quite honestly I haven’t done that this year. I think there’s a lot more on this team than what we’ve shown and it’s incumbent on me and incumbent on those players to perform better than we have,” Van Gundy told the Jamie and Stoney Show on 97.1 The Ticket on Friday.
“I think that my frustration is more with myself than with any individual player or anything else,” he added later. “This team’s got more there than I’ve gotten out of it so far.”
Despite the Pistons’ struggles, Van Gundy believes the answers lie within. In that regard, he doesn’t view the Feb. 23 trade deadline as an opportunity to address a specific team need.
“I don’t know that we’ve got a specific need. I think the biggest need is the guys we have need to play better,” he said. “You’re always on the look, (general manager) Jeff Bower’s going to be surveying everyone in the league and if there’s a deal that makes sense for us and makes us better now and going forward then that’s one we’ll have an interest in. But we’re not sitting here and feeling like we’ve got a glaring hole.
“I like our roster. It doesn’t mean it can’t be improved, but I like these guys, I think they’re good players, I think we should be better than we are and hopefully we should be over the last 36 games.”
On the outside of the playoff race looking in, the Pistons have some work to do over the second half of the season. Van Gundy knows where it begins.
“A big part of the answer is at the defensive end of the floor. I know that’s going to require a greater commitment on the (players’) part, I know it’s going to require a greater desire to do things that are very difficult,” said Van Gundy. “It’s become increasingly difficult to defend in the NBA the way people are playing the game and spreading the floor out. It’s hard to guard and our guys have to embrace doing the things that are hard.”