Pis­tons backup eyes strides

John­son gets chance to im­prove, men­tor at sum­mer league

The Detroit News - - Front Page - BY ROD BEARD The Detroit News

Orlando, Fla. — Though he won’t be play­ing in any of the games for the Pis­tons in the Orlando Sum­mer League, it’s not just a sum­mer va­ca­tion for Stan­ley John­son.

It’s an op­por­tu­nity to show the coach­ing staff what he’s worked on in the first part of the off­sea­son and help out the young team as they pre­pare to be­gin games on Satur­day. As the key cog in the Pis­tons’ re­serve group, John­son can im­part some of his wis­dom and be a men­tor to Henry El­len­son and first-round pick Luke Ken­nard.

John­son, a third-year wing, al­ready has been a vo­cal pres­ence in prac­tices, help­ing the rest of the team un­der­stand how sum­mer league is just a sam­pler of what awaits in train­ing camp and the reg­u­lar sea­son.

“In this group, Stan­ley is the guy who has played the most min­utes, by far,” coach Stan Van Gundy said. “In terms of de­fense, that’s Stan­ley’s great­est strength right now and he’s a re­ally com­pet­i­tive guy and he’s start­ing to be­come more fa­mil­iar with NBA sit­u­a­tions.

“With the young guys, you’re a step be­hind be­cause you’re re­act­ing to (a sit­u­a­tion), in­stead of see­ing it at the start of the play and get­ting in po­si­tion. Stan­ley is get­ting to the point where he’s ahead of the play in­stead of be-

Car­los Oso­rio/Associated Press

Af­ter a promis­ing rookie year, Stan­ley John­son av­er­aged just 4.4 points last year with the Pis­tons.

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