Ahead of his team’s preseason opener this Friday vs. the New York Knicks, Pistons head coach Dwane Casey had a bunch to say during a Wednesday media session.
Casey, who’s entering his third season with Detroit, spoke about the team’s chemistry and praised the veteran leadership from Blake Griffin and Derrick Rose regarding the rookies and their learning curve.
“Blake [Griffin] is doing a good job of hanging with the rookies. Derrick [Rose] is doing a good job of talking to them and really trying to help them, give them information that’s going to be useful,” said Casey.
“We have a good group of veterans that have been around the league…knock on wood, it’s one of the best groups I’ve had in a long time as far as the unity on the floor and off the floor.”
What stood out was how Casey doubled down on the praise of Derrick Rose.
Derrick Rose is the mentor that Killian Hayes needs.
According to Casey, Rose has taken the younger players on the team under his wing. Most notably, he’s working hard with rookies Killian Hayes and Saben Lee.
Instead of worrying about minutes, he’s trying to sharpen players by going at them in practice to help them improve their game. Casey credits Rose for taking the younger players to the side during practices, coaching them up.
“The older guys usually eat their own, and they’ll just take and want their minutes,” said Casey. “But Derrick is trying to perpetuate a relationship and push those guys in practice.” He went on to say how priceless he thinks the experience will be for Hayes. Additionally, he believes that Hayes will look back at this time in his career and appreciate Rose’s efforts.
On Friday, the Pistons play the New Knicks, with tip-off at 7 PM. This will their first of four preseason games. Additionally, this will be their first game at Little Caesars Arena since March.