Pistons backup eyes strides
Johnson gets chance to improve, mentor at summer league
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-
After a promising rookie year, Stanley Johnson averaged just 4.4 points last year with the Pistons.