Lowe on Casey: ‘He’s going to work you hard, but he’s going to love you harder’
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LAS VEGAS – Sidney Lowe has never worked alongside Dwane Casey, but it’s no mystery to him why Casey’s been such a successful NBA head coach.
“Besides his knowledge of the game and understanding, I think it’s his ability to communicate with players – his ability to communicate with people in general, not just players,” Lowe said. “His demeanor is such that it’s a welcoming demeanor. You feel comfortable talking to him.”
Casey, named NBA Coach of the Year after being accorded the same honor in a vote of his peers, brings on Lowe after his most recent stint as assistant to Scott Brooks in Washington. It’s Lowe’s second tour as a Pistons assistant after serving under Flip Saunders in 2005-06 before taking over as head coach at North Carolina State, where he was part of the 1983 NCAA championship team.
“I’ve never worked with him, but we’ve been friends,” Lowe said. “We’ve crossed paths and I’ve known him for several years. We’ve always kept in touch and I would watch his games and congratulate him on wins, so we had a relationship without really working with each other.”
Lowe, just as Casey did in his introductory press conference two weeks ago, spoke enthusiastically about the talent they’ll inherit in a roster that starts with Blake Griffin, Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson.
“We have athleticism with this team, which you have to have in this league to be able to play defensively and different defensive schemes, switching or doing whatever,” he said. “You have to have athleticism, so I think we check the box there. I think we have guys that can make some shots offensively and that’s stretching the defense out a little more, getting up a few more threes.
“Blake, in particular, getting him to shoot a few more threes, stretch that defense out, and with the big fella, he’s a problem inside. So I think we have the areas covered pretty well in order to score the basketball. I see us being able to do that, being able to push the ball, get easy baskets, get the big fella in there and shoot threes. You’ve got to make threes in this league and I think getting Blake to shoot a few more of those, that’s just going to enhance our offense.”
Griffin is in no danger of becoming a 3-point specialist, though. Rest assured, Casey’s offense will force defenses to deal with Griffin around the basket and decide if he’ll be guarded with one or two defenders.
“If you’re going to guard him one on one, there could be problems,” Lowe said. “Having a guy like Blake to cause problems, cause double teams, cause teams to get into rotations, it opens it up for your other players.”
Lowe’s roots with the Pistons actually precede even his stint with Saunders. He also wore their uniform, spending a month of the 1984 season under Chuck Daly with the nascent Bad Boys. He holds an appreciation for the accomplishments of a franchise with three NBA titles and a history in Detroit that dates back 61 years.
“I was here with coach Saunders and we had some great years, had great teams. We’re planning on hopefully getting that back with coach Casey and just getting these guys wanting to play hard. I think what’s so important for them is to understand the history of this organization.
“When you play for the Pistons or coach for the Pistons, you’re not just coaching for this year. You’re coaching for the past. You’re coaching for all those fans that hung in there with you during the tough times and understand there’s a lot of history here. I’m very excited to be back and very excited to be working with Coach and the rest of the staff.”
And based on everything Lowe knows of Casey, he expects his influence to draw out the best in a talented roster.
“I think what they’re going to get is something that I preach a lot – they’re going to get a coach that’s going to work them. He’s going to work you hard, but he’s going to love you harder. And that’s important. There’s got to be a balance. You have to reach ’em in order to teach ’em. I think he’ll do a great job of that.”