WALKER — Rick Mahorn has seen a lot of NBA basketball in his time.
First as a member of the Detroit Pistons, then as the Pistons’ radio analyst alongside Mark Champion, Mahorn has spent a long time in basketball.
Mahorn was on hand Thursday to help promote the Pistons’ new NBA Developmental League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive, at the Drive’s open house at the Deltaplex.
Mahorn said having the Drive in Grand Rapids is going to be a good thing.
“What it means is that you have an affiliation,” Mahorn said. “What it also means is that you can keep this team and bring players back here that may make it to the next step to Detroit. This is a great proving ground for talent around this area.”
Mahorn thinks the Drive will help what the Pistons are trying to do.
“Right now you have to figure what (Pistons coach) Stan Van Gundy has been trying to get with all the roster moves they are going to do, and with the affiliation here in Grand Rapids is just going to help improve that with having guys affiliated in that same situation,” he said.
Mahorn thinks the Drive will be a hard-working team.
“What you can expect is the guys are going to play very hard, very competitive, because they want to get to the next level,” he said. “That’s what’s going to be fun for Grand Rapid. The Drive are going to have some players here that are are going to come to work about every day.”
When the subject switched to the Pistons, Mahorn wasn’t willing to make a prediction on their success just yet.
“Right now you have to get everybody in place. You have to wait until training camp to see what you have.” he said. “There’s always things cooking as you move forward. The season starts in October. You don’t know what kind of makeover you have on the team. The competitive nature of Stan Van Gundy, that’s what you have to expect.”
Mahorn waived off a question on a report that Piston forward Josh Smith may be sent to the Sacremento Kings in a trade, saying he didn’t want to comment on that.
Mahorn expects the Pistons to compete.
“From what I’ve seen of Stan, it’s going to be competitive,” he said. “It’s building the culture and what you want to instill, and they haven’t had the first practice yet, but when they have that first practice it’s going to be intense.”
The Pistons open training camp Sept. 30. Their schedule has not been released.