A dynamic first week of camp leaves Pistons with ‘really, really good’ vibe
Chris Schwegler (NBAE/Getty)
AUBURN HILLS – If you believe in karma, then the first week of Pistons training camp is one they were owed by the basketball gods. From all accounts – the public comments from Stan Van Gundy and his players to the things the coaches and teammates are saying to each other behind the scenes – the week went about as well as anyone dared hope.
That doesn’t mean the basketball played at the Pistons practice facility was always flawless. Van Gundy lamented a rash of turnovers that plagued every scrimmage after Saturday’s nearly 3½-hour session concluded to end the first week of camp.
But on every other front, it was a rousing success. That starts with a clean injury report. Reggie Jackson and Langston Galloway are being eased back in off of knee issues – Jackson with tendinosis and Galloway a bone bruise – and they’re going light on Boban Marjanovic, coming off the grind of EuroBasket play with the Serbian national team. Other than that, Jon Leuer pulled out of Friday’s practice with a slight ankle sprain, but was back Saturday and “was outstanding,” Van Gundy said.
Contrast that to the way last season’s first week of camp ended – with the thud of Jackson, after a handful of dazzling days, being diagnosed with tendinosis that required something beyond mere rest. It caused teeth gnashing at the time, but even then no one was guessing it would cast a shadow over the entire season and reduce Jackson’s effectiveness as dramatically as it did after returning 21 games into the regular season.
So that’s the best news of the week. Jackson was held out of full participation in practice until Friday, came through that with no red flags and then looked like his old self in Saturday’s scrimmage. Asked who caught his eye, Van Gundy named Jackson first.
“Reggie looked really good in his minutes,” he said. “Granted, he hasn’t been through the grind like some of these guys this week – a little fresh – and he only played 19 minutes. But he played those minutes very well and pretty much exactly how we’d like him to play. That was outstanding.”
Here’s another handful of reasons it was a week that casts the 2017-18 in a golden light:
All those elements have contributed to a vibe that even Van Gundy admits is a little different than he’s experienced here. While acknowledging that the tests of camaraderie start when the first wave of adversity hits, Van Gundy said, “I think that the togetherness and the team feeling and their energy has been, really, really good. Really, really good.”
After the way last season spun out, karma owed the Pistons that much.