Detroit — Tom Gores, owner of the Pistons and CEO of Platinum Equity, had a front row seat to his team’s first win of the 2022-23 season.
Gores watched Jalen Duren rip down vicious dunks and he watched Jaden Ivey put his speed on full display, often finishing at the rim with finesse. Lastly, he saw Cade Cunningham find Isaiah Stewart for the 3-pointer to ice the game.
As Gores watched the re-tooled Pistons — a team beaming with youth and eagerness to prove themselves — overcame a 15-point lead in the first half against the Orlando Magic, he couldn’t help but think about the future.
“You know I’m an optimistic person and this team has the makings of something special,” Gores told reporters at halftime. “There’s no doubt about it, with their basketball and everything else, they have the makings of something special.
“They do the basics. They work hard, they’re unselfish. They’re young. I talked to them the other night (Monday night) and being young is no limits for them. This team embodies what we believe in in Detroit.”
Detroit hasn’t qualified for the playoffs since 2019, when the Blake Griffin-led Pistons made the postseason before a first-round exit to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Over the offseason, Pistons general manager Troy Weaver brought in two lottery picks and acquired a sharpshooter in Bojan Bogdanovic, along with a couple of veteran pieces to complement Detroit’s core nucleus of Cunningham, Stewart, Saddiq Bey, Killian Hayes and Marvin Bagley.
Pistons coach Dwane Casey, the 2018 NBA Coach of the Year, promised a defensive approach from this season’s team. He doesn’t want them to use being young as an excuse not to compete on a nightly basis.
Gores assured reporters that Casey and Weaver has his full support as the front office and coaching staff aims to restore the franchise back to its winning ways.
“I think we’ve got great people, great players and great leadership with Dwane and Troy,” Gores said. “I have tremendous confidence and I’m a very optimistic person, but these guys are showing it on the floor. Having had dinner with them the other night, I have great confidence in them.”
For an extremely young team when most of their core players are less than 23 years old, Gores also said he expects the team to go through their fair share of growing pains.
“You have to have growing pains. It’s a part of any growth,” Gores said. “The thing about our team is they have the character to actually go through pain – and we’re going to go through a lot, no doubt. What’s the average age on our team? 21 or 22? These guys have the character to go through it, so, of course, I expect (growing pains).”