Did you ever get a sense during the pre-draft process that the Pistons would take you if available at No. 5? Jaden Ivey: Yeah. After my workout with the Pistons, I really liked the organization. Dwane Casey, what we were talking about. Troy Weaver. I felt comfortable with the organization and coaching staff. They were very genuine. The facility I was at, it was a very nice facility. I can’t wait to get to work there.
Last year, as Congress debated the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, Cadogan brought together coalition board members Steve Ballmer (owner of the LA Clippers) and Karl-Anthony Towns (star player of the Minnesota Timberwolves), with bill sponsors Rep. Karen Bass (D-California) and Sen. Tim Scott (R-South Carolina) for a discussion. In March, Cadogan was joined by Dwane Casey, Pistons coach and coalition board member, to lobby the White House in support of criminal sentencing legislation. “The tools of 2020 are not the tools of 2022,” Cadogan said. “The reason that we established a coalition is to take on this work on behalf of the NBA community, so it will look different over time. And it should look different over time. What we saw in the bubble, which I think will go down as a critical, pivotal moment, in not just sports history, but American history … there was a need and a moment and the right opportunity for players to stand up in a new way. “Now, the outgrowth, the real question, I think this is true of anybody who cares about this work is, how do you do it sustainably? And how do you keep it going beyond the moments of protest?”
Detroit began its rebuild two seasons ago. It needed a face. It needed hope. The Pistons lucked into Cunningham a year ago and found both. Now, they might not look back. “It’s definitely not easy to win in this league,” Cunningham said. “You have to be locked in; your whole team has to be locked in. You have to take every possession seriously. I was just talking to Coach Casey about it. … I feel like there are so many games where you’re like, ‘Dang, this team stole that win from us, they stole that game from us.’ Over the course of a season, you look back, and there are so many games that were stolen from you. You’re games behind now, and it’s tough to make that up. “It is hard to win, but I’m excited for next year and trying to practice that desperation every night of trying to get a win and, every possession, making the best play possible.”
Omari Sanfoka II: Casey said Weaver had an eye on Marvin Bagley III for a while, and Bagley gave the Pistons what they needed. “I told him when he got here you have a clean slate. You were drafted No. 2 for a reason. Enjoy it, have fun. And he did that … he’s everything Troy said he was.”
James Edwards III: Cory Joseph: “Casey is amazing. I feel like he doesn’t get the credit he deserves from the outside looking in. He regularly spends time with players, whether individually, with coaches to make this thing move. People don’t see that behind the scenes.”