During general manager Troy Weaver’s introductory news conference in June, Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores said the Andre Drummond trade last season cleared the way for the Pistons to hire Weaver, and subsequently remake most of the roster.
Drummond made his return to the Little Caesars Arena on Saturday, when the Pistons opened their home schedule against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Gores addressed the media before the game for the first time since June.
Much of Gores’ availability focused on Securus — a prison telecom company that his private equity investment firm, Platinum Equity, purchased in 2017. Last week, Bianca Tylek of Worth Rises, a nonprofit focused on prison advocacy, ran a full page ad in the New York Times calling for Gores to sell the team.
Here’s what Gores said about the Pistons on Saturday:
Embracing a longer path to playoff contention
A very different Pistons team took the floor Saturday, compared to the last time the Pistons played a regular season game at Little Caesars Arena in March. With Drummond’s trade to Cleveland and Weaver’s hire, the franchise shifted its focus from chasing the playoffs to embracing a longer path to postseason relevancy.
Weaver has been aggressive in remaking the roster. The Pistons entered the 2020 NBA draft with the seventh pick, which was used to select Killian Hayes. They swung three additional trades on draft night, which were used to acquire Isaiah Stewart and Saddiq Bey in the first round, and Saben Lee in the second round.
Along with Sekou Doumbouya, Svi Mykhailiuk and other players, the Pistons have a young roster. And even though Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose are still around, the front office isn’t looking at a playoff bid as a measuring stick for now.
“It’s too early to talk about playoffs and so on, this is a very young team,” Gores said.
Gores praised Weaver’s approach to the offseason. Only four players return from last year’s team, setting a different course for the franchise.
“We have to see how those young men develop,” Gores said. “The thing Troy did right away is he really owned this. I thought he was thoughtfully aggressive. And he owned it, three first-round draft picks and a second-round draft pick. I like it. We still have Sekou and Svi. We have a very, very young team. We did need to take a different direction. We weren’t making enough progress.”
The Pistons want to be competitive, though
Echoing comments from Weaver and head coach Dwane Casey, Gores acknowledged the Pistons still want to compete to win.
It’s why Weaver signed Jerami Grant and Mason Plumlee, adding talent and veteran guidance to a young team that could use it.
“I would say that what I’m sure about this team is that they’re going to work hard,” Gores said. “And that was one of the things that Troy said to me in his early interviews is there’s not enough players on the ground fighting for the ball. What you’ll see from this team is they’re real gritty.”
Why Big Sean joined the organization
Earlier this week, the Pistons created a role for Detroit rapper Big Sean. He’s their creative director of innovation, and will be involved in various community, marketing and merchandising efforts.
“We thought that was fun with Big Sean,” Gores said. “He’s actually got a great eye. Especially in the time where everybody’s struggling so much, we should do more of that, honestly. There’s so many people who can help move the needle in Detroit.”
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores: GM Troy Weaver ‘owned’ the offseason
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