Rodney Stuckey started by making some innocent comments about how the defense would be improved this year under Michael Curry. Rasheed Wallace followed it up with some more pointed remarks about former coach Flip Saunders. Next up for the Pistons is Rip Hamilton.
As reported by Chris McCosky of the Detroit News:
"I was disappointed at the way Flip (Saunders) did things, that was the frustrating thing about it," he said.
Hamilton didn't want to get into specifics, but his major point of contention with Saunders was that he didn't hold all players accountable for their actions.
"Players like to be challenged, and they want discipline, even if they fight at times," coach Michael Curry said.
"Rip was frustrated because he didn't feel that everybody was being held accountable. Our goal as a coaching staff this year is to do a better job holding everybody accountable every day."
The reasoning is different, but this sounds oddly similar to the tone coming from the Pistons heading into the 2005-06 campaign as well.
Three years ago, it was getting out from under Larry Brown's controlling fingertips and into Flip Saunders' flex offense that had the Pistons excited. That was after two trips to the Finals in two seasons, including a championship. Sure seems like the angst on the Pistons' end is a bit fairer this time around. Saunders is a coach with a track record of failure in big games, particularly on the road, and his team has melted down in each of the past three Eastern Conference Finals, and it has played uncharacteristically poor defensive basketball at times during those stretches.
This is a team that still has had the ability to play better basketball than it has in crunch time, and the time was ripe for a change back to a coach who would place a renewed emphasis on defense and who could provide an energy spark. Time will tell how long Michael Curry lasts before the old what-have-you-done-for-me-lately plague does him in as well.