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Benched: Dwane Casey on the NBA shutdown, his young players and home schooling

DETROIT – It’s been more than a month since the NBA shut down in the name of safety, the first league to do so. Pistons Coach Dwane Casey said it showed people just how serious this virus is.

“Adam Silver has done a heck of a job,” Casey said. “He set the tone for other leagues like NCAA, and MLB. It set the tone for all the sports to get ready for the pandemic.”

Casey said he and the Pistons have not gotten any official word on when the NBA may return. He hears the theories that everyone does, especially the idea of all teams going to Las Vegas to play there. Casey said if it works out, he would like to play those final 16 games of the regular season.

“We were not going to make up eight or nine games and make the playoffs, but we could get our young guys important minutes,” he said. “Luke Kennard was getting ready to come back, he would have gotten in a rhythm. Christian Wood will be invaluable for next year.”

Speaking of Christian Wood, Casey said Wood is 100 percent back to health after testing positive for Coronavirus last month.

“He’s fine, he’s back in good spirits, running and working out,” Casey said. “He’s making the best of quarantine as he can so he can stay in shape.”

Casey said he keeps in touch with his players as much as he can. He is so proud of Blake Griffin who recently donated $100,000 for workers at Little Caesar’s Arena.

“It’s unbelievable,” Casey said of Griffin’s gesture. “The thing about it is, no one prompted him to do it. He surprised everyone. Our office didn’t ask him to do that. He did it out of the goodness of his heart. I think we’re seeing the best of mankind now from all walks.”

Casey said it’s so important we all stay at home and stay safe right now. For him, that means home-schooling his kids, which he finds harder than coaching in the NBA.

“School teachers don’t get paid enough for their patience and understanding,” Casey said. “They should be NBA coaches; I’ve been called dumb so many times by my kids. I’m teaching my 3rd grader and 6th grader and that new math, is off the charts.”

Casey also said he’s been watching a lot of TV.

“Tiger King,” Casey said, “that reminded me of my Kentucky days.”

The other part of the day is devoted to figuring out of this Pistons team cannot only make the playoffs but make some noise when they get there.

“Coming in here, that was our goal before the injuries hit and we changed directions to rebuild,” Casey said. “Our goal as an organization is to get us back to those glory days. It may not happen in one year or next year, I don’t’ know, but that is our goal to rebuild this.”

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