After the embarrassing showing on Friday, the Pistons turned things around yesterday with a win against Utah, as the team relied more heavily on the younger players who have stood behind their coach (or, at least, not been outwardly insubordinate). But the bad press quickly returned with new reports about team veteran Richard Hamilton's refusal to leave Detroit in a deadline deal, and more information about Hamilton's and Tayshaun Prince's' disrespect for Kuester.
Whatever's going on in Detroit, it's clearly toxic. Let's survey the wreckage and see where the media is placing the blame for this big ugly mess.
The players' mutiny is indefensible: The Pistons should "stick with six until the offending players make amends," says Bob Wojnowski in The Detroit News. This ""power-play against a powerless coach is indefensible." This team "won a championship in 2004 and appeared to stand for everything right about teamwork and selflessness." But now everything has changed. "It's truly sad, because this used to be a team this city adored." It's time to to move forward with guys who really want to play in Detroit.
Kuester's lack of action helped cause this: According to ESPN's Marc Stein, the moves made at the trade deadline (or lack thereof) "has clearly ramped up player frustration." It also doesn't help that "dissatisfaction among Pistons vets with Kuester’s strategy, rotations and communication skills has been one of the season’s longest-running story lines."
It's Joe Dumars' fault: This weekend's display "demonstrates they've reached the depths of despair," says Peter Vecsey in the New York Post. Team president Joe Dumars "made a big mistake by not changing coaches when he had the chance" at the all-star break. "Nobody is slinking out of this unscathed, not the players, not Kuester, not the organization, and not Dumars, who may well also pay the ultimate price." Dumars should have "snuffed out the clashes early on" and handled it in a private, dignified manner.
No matter who, someone has to go now: "They either have to fire Kuester immediately, which would be a sad commentary on the influence of players in getting a coach fired; or they have to banish Hamilton and Prince for the rest of the season," says Martin Frank at delawareonline.com. "It’s already been a lost season for the Pistons," and the current roster and management has made clear it can't deliver. The 76ers had a similar problem last year with Eddie Jordan in charge, but they got rid of him at season's end. "The Pistons can have a similar turnaround with the right coach and the right players."
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