Detroit Pistons Coach John Kuester Finally Shows Some Stones
Color me shocked.
A Pistons coaching staff that has thus far proven to be inept in securing a regular rotation, minutes for their young players and victories in the box score has finally made a solid move.
They have finally decided to turn the page on Rip Hamilton.
So far this season, Pistons coach John Kuester has made more poor decisions than sound ones, not the least of which being his inability to move past the old nucleus of Tayshaun Prince, Rip Hamilton and Ben Wallace and secure steady minutes for Ben Gordon, Austin Daye, DaJuan Summers and Greg Monroe.
Daye began the season forced to play out of position at power forward and has since fallen completely out of the rotation in favor of one year rental Tracy McGrady.
Summers is still on the outside looking in, unable to crack the rotation or even the active roster.
Monroe has begun to get some regular minutes and has responded with better energy and solid rebounding.
And finally, Kuester has decided to move Hamilton to the bench in favor of Gordon.
Granted, Kuester's move coincided with Hamilton developing a stomach ailment of some sort that forced him to miss the game (although the Detroit News is reporting that sources close to the team apparently are questioning the legitimacy of this ailment and saying he quit on the team).
Regardless, he made a tough move that will no doubt come with ramifications, as Hamilton has shown in the past a disdain for coming off the bench.
But he made a move that needed to be made and he made it.
Given the fact that most people view Kuester (and team president Joe Dumars) as lame ducks content to limp to the end of a terrible season, this move is surprising.
Personally, I didn't think Kuester had the stones to pull off this move. This season, he has shown himself to be fairly timid and his personnel moves have echoed this sentiment.
But this move took guts as it will ruffle some feathers and could set the tone for the rest of the season.
Think about it from the perspective of the players.
On one hand, you have Hamilton; while he has championship pedigree, he is obviously tanking this season. He has appeared sullen and his body language has been terrible. His play has been inconsistent at best and disappointing at the very least.
On the other hand, you have Gordon: Gordon is the consummate professional, has never complained about playing time and goes about his job regardless of his role.
To the players, this move represents a departure from spoiled, rest on your laurels complacency and move towards personal accountability.
There is a reason that team sources are questioning Hamilton's desire to compet—his prima donna act is apparently wearing thin with his teammates and this move will force him to either quit his bickering and accept his new role, or completely quit on the team.
The sad thing about this whole situation is that it should have gone differently.
Hamilton should have kept his mouth shut and showed how valuable he would be to another team, regardless of the role.
Kuester should have made this move much earlier and developed a set rotation that focused on transitioning from the past to the future.
And Dumars should have done more to move Hamilton, even if it meant accepting 50 cents on the dollar for his veteran shooting guard.
If this year has taught us anything, it is that there are a lot of idiot general managers out there, and moving bad salaries is far from impossible.
There is plenty of blame to go around and this season is still likely to be a long one that ends with a lottery selection.
But this move is a step in the right direction—a direction that stresses personal accountability and a move towards the future.
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