Beard: Dont count out Van Gundy yet as Pistons boss

Memphis, Tenn. – Fire Millen. Fire Leyland. Fire Hoke.Fire Ausmus. Fire Caldwell. Fire Holland.Fire Van Gundy.In recent years, Detroit sports fans have had their bloodlust for coaches and general managers they think are past their time and usefulness. When it becomes a hashtag on social media, the chants reach a derisive crescendo and they often get what they want.Maybe not this time – at least not yet.The calls for Stan Van Gundy to be fired as Pistons president and head coach are only growing louder, especially after they were eliminated from playoff contention on Wednesday. It’s the third time in Van Gundy’s four-year tenure that they will miss the postseason, but it doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be let go after the regular-season finale in Chicago this week.There are plenty of reasons to argue that Van Gundy should be fired – namely, his issues with selecting and developing young talent, his coaching foibles and the team’s apparent malaise at his message.There’s an alternate reality: he’s just as likely to stay – at least for part of next season – to get one last chance to steer this roster in the right direction.More:Blake Griffin: Pistons can ‘make a run in East’ next seasonPistons owner Tom Gores said last month that he’ll meet with Van Gundy after the season to discuss the future of the organization. He indicated that whether the team made the playoffs this season would not be a deciding factor in whether Van Gundy stays for the final year of his contract.”It’s about what happened this year, what we’re going to do and our future,” Gores said. “Stan is a team player and we’re going to discuss it. We’re not winning enough, so we have to talk about that.”The Pistons have topped the 40-win mark just once in Van Gundy’s tenure, hitting 44 in 2016, when they were swept out of the playoffs by the eventual-champion Cleveland Cavaliers. It was the high point of this group but this era has been defined by Reggie Jackson’s injuries, which have short-circuited the last two seasons.Jackson missed 37 games this season, during which time the Pistons went 12-25 without their most potent offensive threat. They’re 26-16 with Jackson in the lineup, more than enough reason to have hope.Getting Blake Griffin – and his massive contract of $171 million over five years – before the trade deadline seemed to turn the tide a bit, but going with the big caveat in acquiring Griffin, he succumbed to another injury and could miss the rest of the regular season.More:Pistons shut down Reggie Bullock for seasonThat’s where the optimism lies with the Pistons – and likely why Van Gundy will get more time to make a run in the first half of next season: There’s still some intrigue about what Van Gundy’s assembled roster can do, with a core of Andre Drummond, Jackson and Griffin – if healthy – along with complementary players such as Luke Kennard and Stanley Johnson.”I have great confidence, regardless of what happened down the stretch, that that roster will work,” Van Gundy said last week. “When you put Andre, Blake, Reggie (Jackson), Reggie Bullock, Luke, I’ve got great confidence in that.”As far as looking at things you need to do, there are things we’d do differently with a training camp and a full season with Blake.”

Blogs

5 Questions Titans Minicamp Left Us With By: Alex Abernathy and Eli Hiskey

The Titans wrapped up minicamp today without a third practice. Instead, the team traveled to the Metro Nashville Police Training Facility where the team was able to spend some time together off the field while also learning about gun safety. Mike Vrabel said the day was good for the team because they got to “be…

Minicamp Wrap-up Day 2: By Alex Abernathy and Eli Hiskey

  “Once we got here, we became brothers. This is a family here.” These are the words of rookie offensive lineman Nico Falah, talking about his relationship with rookie defensive lineman Matt Dickerson. The two played opposite each other in college at USC and UCLA, but the past is the past and the two are…

OTA Wrap UP Day 1 By: Eli Hiskey and Alex Abernathy

  “Get better” was the message emphasized by defensive line coach Terrell Williams before practice. That message has carried from the D line to the rest of the team in a contagious manner as the Titans again showed improvement at Minicamp Day 1.   Offense: Marcus Mariota looked sharp all day, and his accuracy seemed…

OTA Wrap-Up: By Alex Abernathy and Eli Hiskey

Offense:   Once again, Luke Falk was the first onto the practice field followed steps behind by Marcus Mariota. Mariota looked sharp by threading a few passes down the middle of the field and couple of long gains. Mariota struggled in the red zone though as he threw multiple times into windows too tight for…