64ºF

Benched: Greg Kelser discusses the end of Detroit Pistons season, praying for social change

DETROIT – The NBA announced this week its plans to get back to action.

The plan involves a 22-team format to restart the season July 31 in Orlando, Florida.

Unfortunately that means the Detroit Pistons season is over, which is disappointing to Pistons broadcaster Greg Kelser.

“I haven’t shaved since March 11,” Kelser said. “I like dressing up. I haven’t had a suit on since then either. I miss work. I wish we were apart of the group going to Orlando.”

Unfortunately, the Pistons were left out of this NBA restart. Kelser said this wasn’t a surprise to anyone, but it is still disappointing for him, for coach Dwane Casey and for the younger guys trying to develop.

“A lot of confidence gains and progress can be realized in 15 NBA games,” he said. “That’s lost now and there’s no way to replicate it unless you have NBA competition out there. That being said, these are unprecedented times and everyone having to adjust and make sacrifices.”

Kelser doesn’t think there will be any summer leagues either, so it will be a very long offseason. When the new season begins, Kelser hopes Christian Wood is a Piston. Since the Andre Drummond trade, Wood was excellent in a Pistons jersey. In his last 13 games, he averaged 22.8 points, 9.9 rebounds.

“I like him,” Kelser said. “I remember when he came in, he bet on himself. He told us he was good. He proved it. When the season ended, he was the best Piston on active roster and getting better and better.”

Kelser said he will absolutely watch the NBA’s return and the playoffs, but basketball is not his focus at the moment.

“When you see the things we saw with George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor in her own home, I could go on and on,” Kelser said. “These things have to make everyone who wants American to be great think about it. No country is great unless it takes care of all of its citizens.”

Kelser spent his Sunday marching for change in Detroit. He said he hopes this time is different than all the other times in the past.

“If what had to happen to George Floyd had to happen, I’m so glad it happened in a public forum and people could see it and feel it,” he said. “I hope it grinds on them when they think about it. Hopefully its moving people in the direction of stopping it.”

Kelser said that was his first march, but it won’t be his last. He hopes to not only walk, but also use his voice that finds a meaningful, lasting solution.

More: Benched stories from athletes during the pandemic