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Pistons’ player-coach tensions boil over November 7, 2010

Posted by Jeff Engel in Home, Off the court.
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The Detroit Pistons are on the verge of imploding.

After a Tuesday loss to Boston, coach John Kuester called for more leadership from the team. Forward Tayshaun Prince pointed the finger right back at his coach.

The Detroit News reported that Kuester held a team meeting after the loss to the Celtics and his uncharacteristic public criticism of players. Kuester said he was pleased with the team’s effort in the next game, a loss to Atlanta the following night that put the Pistons at 0-5.

It was the team’s worst start since the 1980-’81 season.

However, during that game against the Hawks, guard Rodney Stuckey — one of the team’s supposed leaders — ignored his coach when he called to him from the sideline in the third quarter. Kuester benched Stuckey for the rest of the game.

According to the Detroit Free Press, all Stuckey would say about the incident was that, “It is what it is.” Kuester cut interviews short after the game.

Kuester may be on the verge of losing the players, wrote Jamie Samuelsen, the sports director for the morning show on WCSX-FM (94.7) and a blogger for the Detroit Free Press.

Samuelsen thinks the players are in the wrong and need to grow up and show support for their coach.

But if recent Pistons history is any indication, Kuester could soon go the way of Rick Carlisle, Larry Brown, Flip Saunders and Michael Curry — all canned or pushed out, in some cases perhaps prematurely.

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Monroe sits in opening game loss October 29, 2010

Posted by Jeff Engel in Game recaps, Home.
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Rookie forward Greg Monroe didn’t see the floor in the regular season opener. / Photo via the Detroit Free Press, Kirthmon F. Dozier

Fans cried foul when Pistons coach John Kuester sat rookie forward Greg Monroe in the season-opening loss against the New Jersey Nets Wednesday night, 101-98.

Why would coach keep the seventh pick in the NBA draft — a 6-foot-10-inch player — on the bench the entire game, especially for a somewhat vertically challenged Pistons team playing the bottom feeder Nets? It’s a fair question the Detroit Free Press asked afterward.

Kuester explained that part of it was 6-foot-7-inch forward Jason Maxiell’s energy level, and that Monroe will definitely get his shot this year.

Chris Iott of MLive.com was not surprised by the move. He pointed to Monroe’s lack of defense in the preseason, which may have spelled a monster game from 7-foot center Brook Lopez of the Nets. Lopez was held to 25 points, but Iott believes he could have scored more with Monroe guarding him.

The Pistons play their home opener against Oklahoma City tonight, 8 p.m. EST.

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