‘They’re going to work hard’ – Tom Gores gives thumbs up to Troy Weaver’s Pistons roster makeover
When Troy Weaver told the world what he wanted in the Pistons roster he would build, it wasn’t the first time Pistons Owner Tom Gores had heard those words.
Weaver didn’t pull any punches with the Pistons owner when he discussed the state of the team during the interview process that led to him becoming the team’s general manager last June.
“In his mind, he wanted more people on the floor fighting for the ball,” Gores said via a Zoom link Saturday before the Pistons played their 2020-21 home opener. “That grit. That toughness. He felt we didn’t have enough of it. Just to be really frank, that’s one of the things he really went after.”
Gores didn’t have any expectation that Weaver’s roster makeover would be as sudden and thorough as it was with only four returning players from the one he inherited. But as someone who built his Platinum Equity empire from the ground up by making educated moves with conviction, he has been struck by Weaver’s self-assuredness.
“I’d say the thing Troy did right away was he really owned this. He didn’t sit back,” Gores said. “He was thoughtfully aggressive. He owned it. In the end, it will all be told by how well these young men do. I like it.”
Gores has resisted calls for the Pistons to choose a path that emphasizes lottery picks at the expense of a competitive product, but he fully backed the decision reached last winter to push the reset button that was signified by the trade of Andre Drummond, who returned to Little Caesars Arena on Saturday a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
“We have to compete,” he said. “We have to be proud of how we win and how we lose, too. There’s no way around it – we have a young team. Troy, like me, doesn’t want to go out there with this tanking thing. I don’t believe it in as a part of sports. What I’m sure about is this team, they’re going to work hard.”
Since becoming Pistons owner in 2011, Gores has strived to put together a coaching staff and front office that function with a singular purpose and he’s been comforted over the past half-year by the way Weaver and Dwane Casey have meshed. It helps that Casey values players, as Weaver does, not allergic to floor burns.
“The other thing with Troy, him and coach Dwane really have nice chemistry,” Gores said. “They talk about things. They went to workouts with each other and saw things the same way. They really saw the world a lot in the same way. I really feel we’re in great shape with those two folks.”
Weaver’s blunt assessment of the team he took over resonated with Gores, who grew up in Flint as the Bad Boys were rising in the NBA.
“One of the things Troy said to me in his earlier interviews was there’s not enough players on the ground fighting for the ball. It doesn’t get better than the Bad Boys in getting down on the ground and getting it done.”
With five rookies on the 15-man roster and eight players 23 or younger, Gores knows that being competitive and having that translate to immediate success might not be possible. But he’s invested in watching the progress of the team and asks the same of Pistons fans.
“We require a little bit of patience,” he said. “It was difficult, but it was the right thing to do and I like what Troy’s doing in jump starting it reasonably fast with all these young folks. It’s not about me. It’s about getting to the end road we all want to get to.”