AUBURN HILLS — Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores is pleased with the progress the team has made during his first year as owner. But he also made it clear the expectations raise next season.
“We better make the playoffs. That’s realistic,” Gores said of next season.
Gores didn’t say the team better make the playoffs in a threatening way. In fact it was the opposite and more of a indication of the faith he has in the team.
“One of the things I realized this year is we have great players on the team,” Gores said. “I’m not sure it requires any moves to make the playoffs.”
That’s not to say Gores doesn’t expect the Pistons to be active during the offseason. Gores just doesn’t want to take away anything for this year’s group
“We’re open to everything,” Gores said. “I don’t want to discount or take anything away from how good our players were this year. We started 4-20. We were a pretty good team. There was a few games we didn’t finish because we were just gelling and coming together. We did have a short season to deal with. I’m not saying we shouldn’t look at the possibilities of making changes, but I’m also saying we have great players on this team.”
Will the Pistons actively pursue any big free agents or possibly use the amnesty clause? Gores admitted he wasn’t sure.
“It’s a good question,” Gores said. “I’m not sure really. That’s something that I leave up to Joe (Dumars) and his team. We’re gonna get Lawrence (Frank’s) input. Our goal for the franchise is to win a championship. But to do it the right way. ... That’s something that I’m going to leave to Joe and his team. We’re going to meet ... and talk about all the possibilities.”
Gores has been pleased with the communication of Dumars and Frank. Gores feels communication is a huge part of success in any business and likes what he’s seen from Dumars and Frank.
“Joe, Lawrence, they’re talking every day,” Gores said. ‘Part of our culture it to make sure communication is open and that you’re always speaking because when you talk and communicate good things happen. You can’t even predict what’s going to happen. But good things happen. We have reset the culture. There is no barrier between the coach, the GM and the owner. I can call Joe anytime. I can call Lawrence anytime. We have open communication.”
Gores was involved in the hiring of Frank over the summer. From a team aspect, it was his first big move as owner.
With one season in the books, Gores is still confident he made the right hire.
“I had confidence in Lawrence when we hired him. I have even more confidence now,” Gores said. “He stays the course. He’s about work ethic, dedication. ... The team as an example, has amazing chemistry. Different chemistry than they had at the beginning of the season. I know we had a tough season last year in terms of that. Lawrence has delivered in all of that.”
Gores feels progress was made during the course of the season and he expects progress to continue moving forward.
“I’ll be patient with progress and I do feel like we’ve made a lot of progress this year,” Gores said. “It didn’t always convert to wins, but we did start 4-20.
“It wasn’t about even the playoffs this year. It was about doing the right thing. We have to represent a quality product in Detroit. We have to represent what we stand for in Detroit. I think we did that this year. We had toughness, we had work ethic. The players worked very hard this year. They competed every single night.”