Regner: Gores deserves credit, too, for Pistons’ turnaround

Tom Gores might have gone Hollywood as he was becoming a billionaire, yet he's a kid from Flint who grew up following our teams.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

When Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores first arrived on the scene, we were told he was one of us — even though he actually didn’t look or act like one of us.

But that old phrase "never judge a book by its cover" is certainly appropriate when it comes to Gores.

During his first couple of years in charge, Gores did three things: He sunk millions into the infrastructure of the Palace, brought in a cadre of musical talent to entertain at halftime and allowed Joe Dumars to run his basketball team.

Many of you would say that he allowed Dumars to ruin his basketball team — we’ll let that topic rest for another day — but what we might have all forgotten about Gores is that he’s just a fan with a lot of cash.

He might have gone Hollywood as he was becoming a billionaire, yet he’s a kid from Flint who grew up following our teams, so we should cut him some slack.

Imagine being in the position to buy one of your hometown teams, and once the sale is final, you have one of your heroes, Dumars — who’s won NBA championships as a player and as an executive — already in place to run the show.

It would have been extremely difficult for a lifelong fan like Gores to give Dumars his walking papers in the beginning — despite the fact that, for whatever reason, it did appear that Dumars had lost his Midas touch.

So we all suffered through some lean seasons and poor decisions as Gores learned the ways of the NBA.

As much as Gores seems to like to hang with the people by dancing in his suite, throwing T-shirts into the crowd and holding upbeat press conferences, I think he really wants to win, too, and is committed to doing it right here in Detroit.

Enter Stan Van Gundy.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Gores gave Van Gundy complete control of the Pistons. It’s pretty clear that he’s comfortable with SVG. And to deal with one guy, makes the process less complicated for Gores.

We might look at the Pistons’ remarkable turnaround as simply the departure of Josh Smith, but that’s not the whole story. Their owner also took off his fan glasses and made the necessary change to move his team forward.

That’s why we owe Gores an apology, because in all honesty, I probably would have had the same learning curve of being a way-too-emotional fan in the beginning and getting all caught in the hype of pro sports.

Now Gores has found his man, and hopefully for all of us, Van Gundy can deliver soon.

I’m pretty sure that when Gores puts his fan glasses back on, he never wants to take them off again.