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Dwane Casey isn’t about to waste any time trying to ease into the position as new head coach of the Detroit Pistons.
Having looked at the core of his new team’s roster, Casey sees a group of players that can accomplish much more than it did last season.
“Our time is now,” the former Toronto Raptors coach said.
Detroit introduced Casey as its new bench boss Wednesday, more than a week after he was hired to replace the fired Stan Van Gundy as Pistons coach.
Inheriting a roster built around Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson, Casey believes Detroit is capable of much more than the 39-43 finish it logged last season under Van Gundy, despite not having a first-round draft pick (surrendered to the Clippers in the deal that landed Griffin) and little salary-cap flexibility.
All of which has Casey saying the future is now.
“I’m telling the guys now — we’re not developing, we’re not two or three years away,” Casey said. “We want to win right now.”
Casey, a finalist for the NBA Coach of the Year Award, was fired after leading Toronto to a franchise-best 59 regular-season victories and the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
However, the Raptors were swept out of the playoffs for the second straight season by LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, the third consecutive season Toronto was KO’d by Cleveland in the postseason.
“I can hold my head high for what we built in Toronto,” Casey said. “That’s part of the journey. This is a new chapter.”
Ed Stefanski was brought in by owner Tom Gores as a senior executive reporting to him to assist with not only the Pistons’ coaching search but also to reshape the organization’s basketball operations.
“We’re going through a process here. We’re thinking about, do we want to go a GM route? Do we want to get some younger guys in there and I can mentor them kind of thing? It’s fluid,” Stefanski said. “I’m going to be very influential in the front office.”
Stefanski indicated the Pistons won’t be making any major moves in the near future.
“I don’t see us making a huge deal right now,” he said.
As he did in Toronto last season, Casey will look for the Pistons to be more aggressive from beyond the 3-point arc next season.
Detroit was fifth in the NBA in percentage from deep last season, but was only 16th in the league in terms of attempts.
“We have to get up more 3s. We’ve got to play more of an analytical game,” Casey said. “Tom teases me all the time about being a modern man. No, it’s about wanting to win, more than anything else, and you have to adapt.”