Detroit Pistons’ bubble workouts over but their work isn’t. Here’s what the team has planned

Detroit Free Press

Omari Sankofa II
| Detroit Free Press

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Following the conclusion of their in-market bubble last Friday, the Detroit Pistons are returning to the norm. Or rather, their new norm. 

Head coach Dwane Casey and his staff for three weeks had the chance to experiment with their scheme and have players work in a five-on-five environment for the first time since the season ended in March. It’s unclear when the 2020-21 season will start and the Pistons will be allowed to reconvene for training camp, so Casey essentially has had to assign his players homework tostay sharp during the hiatus. 

With the NBA Finals potentially wrapping up this week, the league could establish the framework for next season in the lead up to the Nov. 18 draft. Numerous topics — such as the post-pandemic collective bargaining agreement and potentially having fans in arenas — remain unsettled. 

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Casey is hopeful players will find ways to stay active while staying safe until then. He was impressed with the conditioning of his team entering camp and he’s hopeful they’ll be able to take what they learned and continue to develop. 

“We still gotta have a mindset of being ready to hit the ground running when that time comes when they do say ‘OK, you can start getting ready for training camp,’” Casey said. “We’re giving guys instructions as they go away on what to do, what to work on, trying to find safe places to play and to meet guys. That’s the most important thing, is the safety of our players.” 

Keeping in line with the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols, the Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Center is closed to coaches and players during the next two weeks. Players can work out on their own, but they won’t have access to team facilities until after the two-week cooldown period is over. 

The Pistons will then continue voluntary individual workouts with coaches, keeping in line with the league’s previous protocols. Following three weeks of detailed instruction, Casey said players should have a better idea of what they should be working on.

“I think they missed basketball probably more than they thought they did from a competition level,” Casey said. “But still there’s a lot of growth to do as far as the nuances of the game; the reads, the pick-and-roll situations… But one thing that you can’t replace is that competition and how hard guys play. That’s what we’re excited about with all of our young players. That’s what we mostly got out of the camp.” 

Beyond workouts, the Pistons will also use the next month-and-a-half to prepare for the draft. Casey said the Pistons, who have the seventh overall selection, have numerous Zoom calls scheduled. 

Casey is optimistic that Detroit will find a difference-maker with the pick, despite analysts believing that this year’s lottery has a weaker talent pool compared to past drafts. 

“There’s a lot of good players everybody keeps talking about,” Casey said. “They say every year that this is a weak draft. But there’s always good players in the draft that really can be a piece, a foundation in building where we want to go. So no, I’ve seen nothing but good young players in a position where we’re going to be in. Excited. We’ve got good people, talented young men. And again, just making sure we get the right person at that number. I’m very confident that we will.”

Contact Omari Sankofa II at Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa. Read more on the Detroit Pistons and sign up for our Pistons newsletter.

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