The Detroit Pistons have been doing plenty of losing lately, but now, their biggest loss hasn’t come on the court or at the hands of their NBA opposition.
Longtime trainer Mike Abdenour—a mainstay since the days the “Bad Boys” won back to back titles and the 2004 World Championship team dominated the Los Angeles Lakers—stunningly announced he was taking a medical leave on Monday, creating a sizable void in personality near the front of the bench.
It was another frustrating setback for the Pistons in 2013, proving the team just can’t catch a break of any kind right now. Abdenour is one of the most beloved members of the franchise, right along the lines of Wally Crossman (former bench boss of the Detroit Red Wings), trainer Kevin Rand of the Detroit Tigers and Abdenour’s own partner, Pistons’ trainer Arnie Kanter. Somehow, each of these men have become as noticeable and revered as a star player thanks to their permanence and professional charisma.
Abdenour has been a Detroit basketball institution since 1975. He’s become more respected than many players, one particular team owner and even multiple head coaches. In doing so, he’s become a member of the family in a way many people long to within companies and franchises. Now, it simply wouldn’t look right without him carrying his patented dry erase board around, high-fiving players and making sure everybody is prepared around every single timeout huddle.
Until Abdenour’s return, that void will not (and should not) be filled capably by anyone else. Credit him for realizing that the grass isn’t greener on the other side after once leaving for Philadelphia in 1992 and then still finding his way back to Detroit. That shows a definite love and respect for his surroundings. As everyone knows, the city has a way of cherishing and embracing unique characters like Abdenour right back.
Certainly, everyone in Detroit wishes him well and hopes he can return to the Pistons’ bench as soon as possible. Until then, dry erase boards and sweater vests just won’t look the same.
Last Five Games: at Golden State (L), at Portland (L), vs. Brooklyn (L), at Miami (L), at Charlotte (W).
Next Five Games: vs. Minnesota, vs. Toronto, at Chicago, at Toronto, at Boston.
Most Valuable Piston: Greg Monroe. Strangely not counting the win over Charlotte, Monroe has been dominating lately. He put up 23 points and 15 rebounds against the Miami Heat after going for 17 against Brooklyn. Quietly, as always, Monroe is playing like the best player on the roster. Hopefully, his play serves as inspiration for everybody else to pick things up.
Powerless Piston: Kyle Singler. Since his incredibly hot start, Singler has hit a bit of a wall on the season. He scored 18 against Miami, but was also missing in action against Charlotte and Brooklyn with low point totals despite plenty of minutes. Young players always hit walls at some point during long seasons, and Singler has started doing this a tiny bit. Watch him to see if he can forge a comeback soon.
Key To A Short Term Turnaround: Confidence. The Pistons finally won a game in March (yay), even if it was against the lowly Bobcats. Now, they need to try and get on some type of a roll against Minnesota and Toronto at home. Winning often leads to more confidence and in turn, more winning. With this in mind, the Pistons can only take things one game at a time and try to create winning momentum. With things as out of control as they are, that’s a tough task.
Max DeMara is a senior editor at The Detroit Sports Site. You can find him on Twitter @SportsGuyTheMax